On His Shell He Holds The Earth – This Week’s Links

No smoke here in sunny olde London towne, but we have block-shifted from grey skies/uncomfortably windy right through to blue skies/uncomfortably humid, as is the will of the city for good or for ill, so there’s not much to do except squint against the screen glare on your devices and scroll through this week’s links, below.

This week’s news.

Starting this week in the courtroom, as a federal lawsuit was filed last week that seeks to challenge Arkansas law which leaves librarians and booksellers liable to criminal charges if they make available ‘harmful’ reading material to children, coming days after a Florida school district was sued over its removal of 10 books from school libraries, with conservative groups continuing to target titles about race and LGBTQ* identities - the Human Rights Campaign declared this week a state of emergency for LGBTQ* people in the United States.

Elsewhere, DC Comics won its case against Commerciale Italiana, an Italian company which sought to use the image of a black bat inside an oval frame on its products, which the European General Court has ruled falls under trademark protections.

A return to shipping news for the first time in a while, as ICv2 shares news that collective action has closed down operations at a number of West Coast port terminals, as the International Longshoremen Warehouse Union seeks to negotiate a new contract for members with port operators, causing delays of products moving into the U.S. from Asian manufacturers and suppliers.

Comics prize news, and the Human Rights Foundation named Nicaraguan political cartoonist Pedro X. Molina as one of 2023’s Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent Laureates, Pop Culture Classroom announced this week the winners of this year’s Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards as well as the nominees for this year’s Book of the Year prize, Comic Con International announced that Beth Accomando and Scott Dunbier are the recipients of 2023’s Clampett Humanitarian Award, and 2000 AD shared Alan Kerr’s winning entry to this year’s Art Stars competition.

The Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo opened the call for applications to this year’s MICE Mini Grants program, with awards of $100 and a grand prize of $400 up for grabs to applicants who are attending this year’s event, with a submission deadline of August 18th.

In memoriam, remembering those the world of comics has lost, and news was shared of the passing of comics historian Richard D. Olson, who died in April of this year, aged 78.

News was also shared of the passing of cartoonist Joshua Quagmire, creator of Army Surplus Komikz and Bunz & Katz, who died earlier this week, aged 71.

This week’s reviews.


Hagai Palevsky reviews the overwrought framing of Héctor Germán Oesterheld, Alberto Breccia, and Enrique Breccia’s Life of Che: An Impressionistic Biography and Evita, the Life and Work of Eva Perón, translated by Erica Mena - “Under the hands of Oesterheld and Breccia (father and son), these were lives unlived - not in a human sense, at least. These were titans and saviors, not existing in this world so much as warping it around them, figures whose total conviction subsumed and superseded any semblance of human existence. Not just their own, but the human existence of the very world itself.”

Tegan O’Neil reviews the rich colors of Benji Nate’s Girl Juice - “Girl Juice originated on the artist's Patreon and Instagram, and its pages betray some signs of the initial serialization. They’re funny, for one. Our story focuses on the lives and adventures of four roommates of varying temperament - meaning in practice, three vaguely normal people and one borderline sociopath, Bunny.”



Michael Guerrero reviews the enjoyable celebrations of DC’s The Flash #800.

Kate O'Donoghue reviews the character-driven narrative of DC’s Poison Ivy #13.

Jules Greene heartfelt passion of DC’s New Talent Showcase: Milestone Initiative #1.

Colin Moon reviews the compelling emotions of Tom King, Elsa Charretier, et al’s Love Everlasting #8.

David Brooke reviews the intriguing beginning of Dan Watters, Germán Peralta, et al’s Loki #1.

Ronnie Gorham reviews the eerie undead of John Layman and Jok’s In Hell We Fight! #1.

Michael Guerrero reviews the engaging questions of Scott Snyder, Tony S. Daniel, et al’s Nocterra #15.


The Beat

Joe Grunenwald reviews the missed opportunity of DC’s The Flash #800.

Avery Kaplan reviews the interesting concepts of Steve Orlando, Valentina Pinti, et al’s X-Men: Before the Fall – Mutant First Strike #1.


Broken Frontier

Lindsay Pereira reviews the poignant sensitivity of Sammy Harkham’s Blood of the Virgin.

Andy Oliver has reviews of:

- The delightful subplots of Okura’s I Think Our Son is Gay Volumes 3 & 4, translated by Leighann Harvey.

- The quiet sophistication of Rachel Elliott’s The Real Riley Mayes.

- The confident storytelling of Tillie Walden’s Alone in Space: A Collection.

- The powerful insights of Mike Curato’s Flamer.

- The meta reflections of Ype Driessen's The Last Gay Man on Earth.


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan Carey reviews the unique sensibility of Canon #1, edited by Colin Blanchette.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #4, X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #89, Deadpool #7, and X-23: Deadly Regenesis #3.



Nick Smith reviews the moving narrative of Amy Rose, Ryan Estrada, and Jeongmin Lee’s Occulted.


Kirkus Reviews

Have starred capsule reviews of:

- The timeless heart of Pedro Martín's Mexikid.

- The intricate nuance of Bree Wolf's Hex Americana.

- The beautiful commemoration of Navied Mahdavian's This Country: Searching for Home in (Very) Rural America.


The Los Angeles Times

Carolina A. Miranda reviews the expert pacing of Sammy Harkham’s Blood of the Virgin.


Multiversity Comics

Christopher Egan reviews the winning charms of IDW’s The Rocketeer #1.

Matthew Blair reviews the attention-grabbing action of Andrew Wheeler, Ilias Kyriazis, et al’s Catfight #1.

Joe Skonce reviews the impressive adventures of Dan Watters, Germán Peralta, et al’s Loki #1.

Elias Rosner reviews the questionable decisions of Zeb Wells, John Romita Jr., et al’s Amazing Spider-Man #26.

• Gregory Ellner reviews the varied effectiveness of DC's The Flash #800.



Thaneer Oksman reviews the absorbing propulsiveness of Darrin Bell’s The Talk.



Kevin Brown reviews the effective openness of Emma Grove’s The Third Person.


Women Write About Comics

Adrienne Resha reviews the static weaknesses of Saladin Ahmed, Megan Levens, et al’s Starsigns #1.

• Louis Skye reviews the contrived construction of Sergio Rossi and Giovanni Scarduelli's Nikola Tesla, translated by Lucy Lenzi.

This week’s interviews.


MariNaomi interviews Rina Ayuyang about The Man in the McIntosh Suit, moving back into fiction writing from autobio, and the importance of telling stories from history - “I love knowing that comics will always be a platform/genre/medium/format/art form/whatever we want to call it that artists choose to tell their stories, and that readers will continue to give comics a chance. I am excited that new cartoonists and students continue to see comics as a platform to experiment and try things out with their art and their storytelling. I love that the possibilities of comics will continue to be limitless.”

Zach Rabiroff interviews JHU Comic Books’ Ron Hill and Nick Purpura about the store’s origins and their path to comics retail, and the realities of the business - “The major publishers, Marvel in particular, used the pandemic as a way of getting our discounts cut to lower levels than they had been. The move to [Penguin] Random House caused us to lose six points of discount. Which, when Marvel’s your number one comic book publisher in sales, and you get six points cut off in the wake of a pandemic when you were closed for three months, suddenly creates all kinds of new challenges - because you have to go find a way to pay the electric bill and the rent every month.”

From The Comics Journal #309, Gary Groth presents an excerpt from a conversation with Annie Koyama about curating Koyama Press’ line of publications - “One thing that’s great about almost everybody I’ve ever worked with is they’ve gone on to do gallery shows because they have met somebody at our table at a show, they’ve gone on to get an agent or whatever, because they’ve met someone through us. They have gone on to sell their work to a different medium, because someone came up to us at a show, or made contact after the fact.” 



Chris Coplan speaks with Van Jensen about Stardust the Super Wizard, crowdfunding the return of Fletcher Hanks’ character, and anthology logistics.

Chris Hassan talks to Steve Foxe about Marvel’s Voices: Pride, the best aspects of the X-Men, and building excitement for your books.

David Brooke chats with LambCat about Cursed Princess Club, the print publications catching up with the digital editions, and having an ending in sight.


The Beat

Avery Kaplan interviews Enjelicious about Age Matters, the story making the transition from vertical scroll to print, and reader feedback.

Nancy Powell speaks with Scott Burman and Eric Nguyen about White Savior, the story’s origins, and breaking the fourth wall; and with Rina Ayuyang about The Man in the McIntosh Suit, noir homages and character studies, and immersive reading experiences through music.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver talks to Sloth Comics’ Nicolas Rossert about bringing French comics to the UK, and curating the publisher’s line of books. 


Multiversity Comics

Mark Tweedale chats with Alison Sampson about Fearful Symmetry, establishing a sense of place, and avoiding design spoilers.

Elias Rosner interviews Wendy Mass about Lo & Behold, school book tours, the learning process of giving talks to kids, and being evangelical about virtual reality.



Ayesha Rascoe speaks with Darrin Bell about The Talk, and the universality of the book’s subject matter for Black parents and guardians.



Donal Orr talks to Matt Bors and Sarah Shay Mirk about the end of The Nib, and the impact the publication had on comics culture during its tenure.


Publisher’s Weekly

Rob Kirby chats with Mattie Lubchansky about Boys Weekend, the autobiographical elements of the story, and the allure of genre stories.


The Washington Post

Michael Cavna interviews Darrin Bell about The Talk, the audience of one the book was written for, and the catharsis of putting it in print.

This week’s features and longreads.

Here at TCJ, Matt Petras profiles the Rust Belt Review, speaking with editor Sean Knickerbocker, and contributors to the anthology series, about what goes into the making of each issue - “Knickerbocker has worked in book printing for about a dozen years, and has held his current full-time gig at a Minneapolis print shop for roughly six. Every issue of Rust Belt Review is printed where he works. He estimates that producing a run of a single issue costs $2,000, including printing costs and other expenditures, such as buying shipping supplies. He used to print about 300 copies and then do a reprint run, but now he does 500 up front.”

Also for TCJ, Josh Bayer, Tom Hart, Hyena Hell, and Carol Tyler present a jam comic documenting life on The Ink Farm during a week in May 2023, with arrivals in Augusta, thoughts on modern life, familial lessons from the Washington hardcore scene, and notes from the abyss, with a final edition going up today.

Print’s Steven Heller writes on the collections of caricatures curated by Edward Fuchs, and how Fuchs used these to untangle Europe’s fractured sociopolitical histories.

For The New Yorker, Michael Schulman documents the growth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cultural monolith it represents today, and the mining of comic books for translational IP.

For MSNBC, Ali Velshi and Hannah Holland examine the banning of Art Spiegelman’s Maus from classrooms and school libraries, and why it represents a failing in the education of the children such bans purport to protect.

Over at The Beat, Heidi MacDonald documents the removal of a number of CBR’s editors, and what happens at an entertainment media website when you try to stand up to your corporate overlords demanding more for less from employees.

For Women Write About Comics, Brandi Estey-Burtt writes on the representation of disability in Nie Jun’s My Beijing, and the importance of more stories engaging with the concepts of mutual care and making society accessible for all.

Shelfdust’s Steve Morris looks back on the promotion of continuity over catharsis in Dan Slott and Rick Burchett’s She-Hulk #21, while Alex Hern writes on the filler of both Simon Spurrier and Aaron Campbell’s John Constantine: Hellblazer #7 and rolls from Billingsgate Market.

From the world of open-access academia, appearing in Minorities - New Studies and Perspectives, Samuel C. Van Vleet, Everrett Moore, Alvin Akibar, Azlynn Osborne and Yolanda Flores Niemann present research on stereotypes about race and ethnicity through a superhero lens.

2013. I think Wolverine dies around this point? Possibly. I definitely have that issue somewhere, which I got given for free. Might have been around then. I wasn't sleeping much, so recollections are hazy.

Over at The Daily Cartoonist, Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, as national debt, attacks on Pride Month, the announcement of presidential candidates, and the PGA selling out wholesale all made the headlines.

This week’s audio/visual delights.

Deb Aoki hosts this week’s edition of Mangasplaining, as the team covers their first Korean title, JH’s Webtoon The Boxer, the singular reading experience posed by vertical scroll, and how you create stories around that particular medium, especially now many are destined to transition to print.

Also focusing on the vertical scroll this week, David Harper welcomed Webtoon’s David S. Lee to Off Panel to discuss the creative and business aspects of vertical scroll, the growth of the platform, and the accessibility of work published primarily for phones.

Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Kate Fitzsimons convened for the latest edition of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they spoke about the big story in the world of direct market distribution, and what Image Comics shifting allegiances might mean for retail.

Bidding the week farewell with Cartoonist Kayfabe, as this week Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor took a look back at Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant; Gil Kane and Jack Kirby’s The Prisoner; 1996’s Wizard #55; Barry Windsor-Smith, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Michael Kaluta, and Bernie Wrightson’s The Studio; and Richard Corben’s Murky World.

That’s all for this week’s selection, more will be along, soon enough.