Dan is out of town, so I'm filling in today. Rob Kirby is here with a review of Brendan Leach's Iron Bound:
On a rainy night, two young gang members in black leather jackets, Eddie and Bento (aka Benny), are arguing on a bus traveling from Asbury Park to their hometown of Newark, New Jersey. Another young man seated in front of them unwisely asks them to "speak more softly." This prompts a vicious attack from the hair-trigger-tempered Benny, despite Eddie's attempts to rein him in. Blood is shed; Eddie and Benny are thrown off the bus and beat a hasty retreat. With this prologue, Brendan Leach ushers us back to 1961 and the criminal underworld of Newark's Iron Bound section. In this pitiless arena, any attempt to get ahead faces obstacle after obstacle, trust comes at a premium, and good intentions are likely not good enough. Iron Bound reads like a delicious amalgam of a vintage Jim Thompson crime noir novel with illustrations reminiscent of (mutant) Ben Katchor fused with a hint of Lynda Barry’s early punky-scrawly-scratchy style.
—Interviews. Whenever you start to think that mainstream media coverage of comics has greatly improved, you come across something like Metro's interview with Isabel Greenberg. Veteran newspaperman Chris Mautner shows how it's done talking to Brian Ralph. And Inkstuds plays host to Jess Johnson.
—Reviews & Commentary. Sean T. Collins writes about Sophie Franz's "Andy". Sean Kleefeld speculates on the first black comic-book hero.
—"News." Ulli Lust has a huge photo-blog post of her recent trip to the United States, in which many other cartoonists are featured. Rob Clough writes about the new comics show in Durham he's helping to set up. The Archie Comics/Nancy Silberkleit legal drama continues to provide copy for the New York tabloids. Jason T. Miles has revamped his Profanity Hill online store. MoCCA has announced their 2014 special guests, including Howard Cruse, Alison Bechdel, Fiona Staples, and Robert Williams.
—Misc. I love that Sean Howe's Marvel Comics Tumblr is still churning out great curiosities like this. Mike Lynch writes about the big comics movie of 1948.