Premium Rush – This Week’s Links

I’ll likely be amidships on a ferry when this week’s selection of links, to be found below, goes live, so please picture me gazing out at the endless waves, ever watchful for the white whale of link blogging, which I suppose in the 2020s would be a nice news story (?), wherein everybody has a good time (??), and nobody is left with a sad, empty feeling about the medium and/or industry to which they devote a fair amount of their waking hours and contemplation (???). One can dream.

This week’s news.

• Starting off the week with awards news, and The Beat and the Center for Cartoon Studies announced the winners of this year’s Cartoonist Studio Prize, with James Spooner winning 2023’s Print Comics category for The High Desert: Black. Punk. Nowhere, and Hal Schrieve winning this year’s Webcomics category for Vivian’s Ghost.

• Elsewhere, the National Cartoonists Society announced that Brian Walker will receive 2023’s Silver T-Square Award, a prize presented to persons who have demonstrated outstanding dedication or service to the Society or the profession of cartooning, at this year’s Reuben Awards in September.

• The Comics Studies Society announced the opening of submissions to the Frederick Luis Aldama Emerging BIPOC Comics Studies Leadership Award, which seeks to recognise an outstanding emerging BIPOC comics scholar who has demonstrated extraordinary service to the study of comics in academia - the deadline for applications is June 1st.

• In memoriam, remembering those the world of comics has lost, and news was shared this week of the passing of comics historian and scholar Maurice Horn, who died at the end of last year, aged 91.

• News was also shared of the passing of prolific cartoonist Ed Koren, who was first published in The New Yorker in 1962, who died last Friday, aged 87.

This week’s reviews.


Tegan O’Neil reviews the scrupulous sumptuosity of Will Morris’ Gospel #1-5 - “Out of the blue, with no fanfare whatsoever, the most absurdly confident comic book art simply appears. A giant enters our midst, all in a moment. Truth be told, Morris draws more than a little like Paul Smith, to my eye. With perhaps a bit of Mark Buckingham. His figures are sleek, his lines organic. It’s very easy art to look at.”



• Collier Jennings reviews the enjoyable crossover of Stan Sakai’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo: WhereWhen #1.

• David Brooke reviews the unique scares of Steve Foxe, Piotr Kowalski, et al’s All Eight Eyes #1.

• Piper Whitaker reviews the beautiful psychedelia of Katie Skelly’s The Agency.

• Ben Morin reviews the mild amusements of  Kenny Porter, Jahnoy Lindsay, et al’s Superboy: The Man of Tomorrow #1.

• Timothy O’Neil reviews the solid shenanigans of Marvel Comics’ Guardians of the Galaxy by Al Ewing.

• Rory Wilding reviews the varied themes of Tatsuki Fujimoto’s Before Chainsaw Man: 22-26, translated by Amanda Haley.


The Beat

• Eoin Rogers reviews the shallow nostalgia of Edgar Camacho’s Super Trash Clash, translated by Leigh Walton.

• Masha Zhdanova reviews the action-packed delights of Joe Chouinard’s Clown Corps.

• Zack Quaintance reviews the dense satire of Matt Bors, Ben Clarkson, et al’s Justice Warriors.

• Cori McCreery reviews the excellent pacing of Gustavo Duarte’s DC Silent Tales #1.

• Avery Kaplan reviews the satisfying conclusion of Jordan Ifueko, Alba Glez, et al’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #5.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver has reviews of:

- The careful curation of Dorling Kindersley’s The Most Important Comic Book on Earth: Stories to Save the World, edited by Paul Goodenough.

- The thoughtful explorations of AK Press’ World War 3 Illustrated #52: Frontlines of Repair.

- The character-driven horror of Sarah Peploe, Fraser Campbell, Gavin Mitchell, et al’s The Berg.

- The global perspectives of kuš! Comics’ š! #44.

- The accessible messaging of Trang Nguyen and Jeet Zdung’s Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear.

- The damning indictments of Norman Thelwell’s The Effluent Society.

- The intricate world-building of Jimmie Robinson’s Junk Rabbit #1.

- The appropriate bleakness of Last Gasp's Slow Death Zero: The Comix Anthology of Ecological Horror, edited by Jon B. Cooke.


Multiversity Comics

• Robbie Pleasant reviews the cosmic adventuring of Jackson Lanzing, Colin Kelly, Kev Walker, et al’s Guardians of the Galaxy #1.

• Gregory Ellner reviews the crossover collision of Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Tochi Onyebuchi, Carlos Magno, et al’s Captain America: Cold War Alpha #1.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The devastating rawness of Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s Sunshine.

- The earnest energy of Joana Estrela’s Pardalita, translated by Lyn-Miller Lachmann.

- The high-concept satire of Peter Rostovsky’s Damnation Diaries.

- The fantastic frights of Emily Carroll’s A Guest in the House.

- The heartfelt warmth of Christine Suggs’ ¡Ay, Mija! My Bilingual Summer in Mexico.

- The resonant catharsis of Jennie Wood, Dozerdraws, et al’s Paper Planes.

- The immersive environments of Van Jensen and Jesse Lonergan’s Arca.



• Keith Silva reviews the vengeful bite of Roddy Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander’s Blacula: Return of the King.

• Hagai Palevsky reviews the off-kilter charms of Erik Svetoft’s Spa, translated by Melissa Bowers.


Women Write About Comics

• Bishop V Navarro reviews the well-paced narrative of Jeff Lemire, Gabriel H. Walta, et al’s Phantom Road #1.

• Masha Zhdanova reviews the convoluted fantasy of Chanmi Lee, aesp, et al’s adaptation of Romance Machine K’s Disobey the Duke if You Dare, translated by Judy Hur.

This week’s interviews.


• Jason Bergman interviews Stephen R. Bissette about comic book (semi-)retirement and returning to the fold, Tyrant and the 90s direct market collapse, and the nature of collaboration - “I love how the pop culture works. I love having been part of it and still being part of it. But I also love its ebb and flow, simply as someone who experiences the pop culture like everyone does, like you do, Jason, like all of us do. I try to understand, where does this stuff come from? Because it comes from somewhere. And all of that fascinates me.”

• Zach Rabiroff interviews Black Cat Comics’ Greg Gage about the realities of opening a comic book store, the bane of variant covers, and having diverse customers - “It’s a completely different ballgame now. It’s probably more fractured: it used to be you came to work, you looked in the Previews catalog, you did your orders, you knew when your shipment was coming in - you kind of knew what to expect. With the changes in distribution, that has really thrown a wrench into everything. There’s some [distributors] that only have one [publisher], like Lunar Distribution. That situation is a mess.”

• Presented from the archives, originally posted in 2013, Richard Gehr interviews Edward Koren about a storied cartooning career at The New Yorker, and moving to Vermont - “I hearken back to those nineteenth-century French caricaturists and, in particular, my mentor Monsieur Daumier. I just love his feel for subjects, his sense of the moment of their lives, and how he reads character in relation to their social situations, what they’re doing, and where they are on the social ladder. I draw a lot of inspiration from that. I’m not a sort of person who mixes that easily. I always sit on the sidelines looking, taking it in.”



• Chris Coplan speaks with Kenny Porter about Superboy: The Man of Tomorrow, the return of the Metropolis Kid, and winning DC’s 2022 Round Robin challenge.

• David Brooke talks to Al Ewing about Fury, the evolution of the spy story, writing for multiple artists, and the shenanigans of James Bond.


The Beat

Rebecca Oliver Kaplan chats with Jeremy Holt and Axel Alonso about Gatsby, the adaptation’s origins in the COVID-19 pandemic, and joys of teen dramas.



Rob Salkowitz interviews Trina Robbins and Henry Barajas about Won’t Back Down, standing up for reproductive rights, and the accessibility of crowdfunded titles.



Jim McLauchlin chats with Acme Comics’ Jermaine Exum about retail lessons learned, sharing your enthusiasm for the product, and building community through book clubs.


Publisher’s Weekly

• Deb Aoki talks to publishers and sellers of manga and Webtoons about growth in the North American markets, and what may account for these successes.

• Cheryl E. Klein speaks with Rex Ogle about Four Eyes, focusing on happier times, the realities of childhood bullying, and the process of writing a memoir.

This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Paul Karasik writes in remembrance of the work of cartoonist Ed Koren, who passed away last week, aged 87 - “On the Planet Koren, there are no crisp tuxedos, only tattered fuzzy sweaters. No angry raging, only fuzzy musings. No solid black, only that inimitable scratchy, fuzzy line tying it all together like balled twine.”

• Also for TCJ, Ian Thomas writes in tribute to the life and work of writer Rachel Pollack, who passed away earlier this month, aged 77, also curating remembrances of Pollack from friends and peers - “Pollack was also a teacher, dating back to before she had published any writing; her talent is not only reflected in her extensive bibliography, but also in the knowledge she shared with her students. Along with Mary Greer, she spent decades helming Tarot seminars at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York.”

• Further remembrances following the passing of Ed Koren were published at The New Yorker, Print, and Vermont Public, celebrating Koren’s prolific cartooning career.

• Elsewhere, more tributes were published following the death of Rachel Pollack, celebrating Pollack’s comics writing, activism, and tarot scholarship, in pieces at NPR and The Washington Post.

• For The New Yorker, Matt Alt writes on the passing of Leiji Matsumoto, the themes to be found throughout Matsumoto’s manga and anime work, and the legacy they leave for new generations of creators.

• Over at Polygon, Rosie Knight looks back on the history of Wonder Woman, and the Office of Strategic Services’ search for a truth serum that impacted the character’s developing canon.

• Writing for Hyperallergic, Briana Ellis-Gibbs reports from this year’s 11th Annual Black Comic Book Festival at the Schomburg Center, speaking with attendees and exhibitors on its importance.

• For Shelfdust, Jess Plummer writes on the enduring appeal of Supergirl and the intended audience for the character, while Steve Morris writes on the deconstruction of Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt by way of Hull’s finest: The Housemartins.

• Elizabeth Sandifer’s Last War in Albion continues, as a brief diversion is taken from the British comics scene to discuss the work of Harvey Pekar, and Alan Moore’s thoughts on said work.

• From the world of open-access academia, in the Sapientia Global Journal of Arts, Humanities, and Development Studies, Isaac Olajide Fadeyi and Oluwawapelumi Iyinoluwa Ola present a report on satirical cartoons to be found in selected Nigerian newspapers.

• Writing in Visual Cognition, Irmak Hacımusaoğlu, Bien Klomberg, and Neil Cohn explore the relationship between the conveyance of meaning in comics and page layouts in examples from across the medium.

• For Arts, Niels Werber and Daniel Stein examine the paratextual space of fan forums, and the ways in which these can shape the development and evolution of popular comic book narratives.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as the ethics of one Clarence Thomas eventually made way for intelligence leaks, fake news settlements, and gun violence.

This week’s audio/visual delights.

• A double bill of New York Comics and Picture-Story Symposium meetings this week, as Austin English welcomed Lisa Pearson to speak about the publications of Siglio Press and the reforming of comics in works of collage, and Ana Woulfe to talk about about trans surrealism and the complex intertwining of trans identities and surrealism.

• A new podcast arrives on the scene, Udder Madness, as Claire Napier and Tegan O’Neil begin a charting of the history of Top Cow, starting things as you would expect - at the very beginning, which, as we all know, is a difficult time.

• An established podcast returns to the scene, as House to Astonish presents a fresh episode of comics discussion, as recent publications to the direct market of spandex and non-spandex flavours are discussed, as well as new digital publishing endeavours.

• David Harper welcomed James Tynion IV to this week’s edition of Off Panel, as they spoke about the launch of W0rldtr33, vibing with a 90s aesthetic, key points for a first issue, and the differences between publishers.

• Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Kate Fitzsimons convened for a new episode of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they discussed ongoing book banning movements in the US, new publishers and publishing divisions, and paid tribute to the late Rachel Pollack.

• Brian Hibbs chaired this month’s meeting of the Comix Experience Graphic Novel of the Month Kids’ Club, as Mac Smith spoke about Scurry, enjoyment of 90s comic books, telling a good story through animal characters, and future plans.

• Closing out the week with regular old Cartoonist Kayfabe from Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor, as they took a look at Gilbert Hernandez x Wonder Woman, Art Adams x X-Men, and Paul Gulacy x Batman, before talking once more with Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird about the history of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with creator commentary on issues six and seven.

That’s all for this week, back again soon, once I return to dry land.