Reelin’ In The Years – This Week’s Links

Welcome to 2023, and with a new year comes new links, so without much further ado, let’s shake off the last remaining vestiges of rest and relaxation that came (and went) with the holidays, and get back to fervently clicking on every single hyperlink in sight, as I assume that that is the resolution that everybody makes each year without fail. 

This week’s news.

• Our first big story of the year is a continuation of the last big story of 2022, as Zach Rabiroff reported for TCJ on the bankruptcy of publisher AfterShock Comics, speaking with creators affected by the publisher’s failure to pay monies owed for work delivered, and bringing to light wider issues inherent in ostensibly ‘creator owned’ work.

• The BBC reported on the closure of a Tehran-based French institute of research, by the Iranian foreign ministry, following the publication of caricatures in Charlie Hebdo mocking Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other Shia muslim clerics, in a special edition of the magazine marking the eighth anniversary of an attack by gunmen on its offices in which twelve people died.

• The HarperCollins Union, which has been on strike for almost two months over low wages and issues of diversity at the publisher, shared allegations that the publisher had plans to hire temp agency workers to edit, design, and market upcoming books, rather than return to the bargaining table with union reps - the union shared template letters that authors and agents can send to non-union editors and HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray on Twitter in an attempt to combat this.

The first comics awards stories of the year arrived early for 2023, as Broken Frontier announced the winners of their 19th annual comics prizes, inducting Avery Hill Publishing and C. Spike Trotman into their hall of fame; and The Beat announced that Kate Beaton and Maia Kobabe had been jointly named as 2022’s Comics Industry Person of the Year.

• In memoriam, remembering those the world of comics has lost, and news was shared of the passing of mangaka Gosaku Outa, who died earlier this week, aged 74.

• News was also shared of the death of comics writer and historian Lou Mougin, who passed away on December 31st, aged 68.

This week’s reviews.


• Henry Chamberlain reviews the propulsive weirdness of Zebadiah Keneally’s All The Things I Know - “In fact, the deeper I go and give the style a chance to win me over, the more satisfied I am with this book. That said, sustaining a thoroughly compelling narrative is always a tough nut to crack, especially over the long haul with a book of this size. It reminds me of Dash Shaw’s Bottomless Belly Button, a book where you really don’t need to care about the characters as much as enjoy the overall vibe that is created.”

• Tim Hayes reviews the culinary combat of James Stokoe’s Orphan and the Five Beasts - “[Soktoe’s] chosen route to an immersive experience on the page is pure visual sensation and the momentum of endless flailing bodies, although it feels like Stokoe's own physical sensations sit at the center of gravity: the pleasures that he contended with while drawing it. There is no special pleading or self-congratulation, there's not a moment you can't anticipate, but the artist is riding a gleeful wave that like all gleeful waves looks like it will never stop, until it does.”



• Alex Schlesinger reviews the impressive beginning of Pornsak Pichetshote, Jeff Stokely, et al’s The Sandman Universe Presents: Dead Boy Detectives #1.

• Ellis Owens reviews the inconsequential choices of DC’s Action Comics #1050.

• David Brooke reviews the opening mystery of  Rob Guillory, Sam Lotfi, et al’s Mosely #1.

• Ryan Sonneville reviews the rushed conclusion of Tini Howard, Bob Quinn, et al’s Knights of X.

• Keigen Rea reviews the entertaining ideals of Tochi Onyebuchi, RB Silva, et al’s Captain America: Symbol of Truth, Volume 1: Homeland.

• Andrew Isidoro reviews the accessible action of Ryan Parrott, Dan Mora, et al’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #1.


The Beat

• Cori McCreery reviews the fine nonsense of DC’s Action Comics #1050.

• Avery Kaplan reviews the fun concepts of Jed McKay, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Patch Zircher, Salvador Larroca, et al’s Timeless #1.

• Michael Kurt reviews the unsatisfying imbalance of Nancy A. Collins, Enid Balam, et al's Blade Runner: Black Lotus - Leaving L.A..


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver reviews the joyous celebration of Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith’s Wash Day Diaries.


The Guardian

Rachel Cooke reviews the bracing fascinations of Yeong-shin Ma’s Artist, translated by Janet Hong.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien reviews the successful nostalgia of Chris Claremont, Sid Kotian, et al’s Gambit #1-5.



Nick Smith reviews the interesting oddness of Andrew Wheeler, Guillermo Saavedra, and Killian Ng’s Love and War.


Kirkus Reviews

Have starred capsule reviews of:

- The charming exploits of Beth Ferry and Kristen Cella’s Stick and Stone on the Go.

- The innovative fantasy of Dina Norlund’s The Snowcat Prince.

- The wry intelligence of Rob Kirby’s Marry Me A Little.


The Los Angeles Times

 Carolina A. Miranda reviews the dextrous artistry of Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, and Mario Hernandez’ Love and Rockets: The First Fifty.



Carina Cerqueira reviews the interesting approaches of Peter Cullen Bryan’s Creation, Translation, and Adaptation in Donald Duck Comics.


Women Write About Comics

Bishop V Navarro reviews the pulpy satisfaction of Scott Snyder, Francesco Francavilla, et al’s Night of the Ghoul.

This week’s interviews.


• Marc-Oliver Frisch interviews Peter Milligan about God of Tremors, screenplay process, the unstable nature of memories, and the structuring of a typical day - “I think all forms of storytelling actually are a kind of wrestling with the past, a kind of wrestling with this stuff that’s gone on before us. And I think that comics, films, novels - I think that time is key to all of that, and I think that comic books have a certain relationship to time which is different from novels or different from films, and that’s why certain stories work really well in certain mediums and some don’t. I’ve always thought that horror stories don’t work as well in comics as they do in novels or in films, and I think that’s about the control of time and what is revealed.”

• Zach Rabiroff interviews Partners and Son’s Gina Dawson and Tom Marquet about their corner of the world of comics retail, pandemic reading, and the return of the one-person anthology - “[Gina:] And we try to go to all the shows. And our Instagram is so lovely, and we have great audience on there. People are always reaching out, telling us about the things they're making, asking if we have things like certain other publishers or artists - that's how we find a lot of stuff and new people. Now that people are starting to know we exist, you know, they reach out to us too.”



• Chris Hassan talks to Jordan D. White about editing the X-Men line of books, standout creators, standout characters, and Weezer.

• Chris Coplan speaks with Kenny Porter about Tales from Earth-6: A Celebration of Stan Lee and the joys of Elseworlds, and with Matt Kindt about Spy Superb and pandemic work patterns.


The Beat

Avery Kaplan interviews Pornsak Pichetshote about The Sandman Universe Presents: Dead Boy Detectives, origins in the Vertigo offices, and the specifics of Thai ghosts.



Talk to Tom Batiuk about Crankshaft joining the fold, the origins of Ed Crankshaft, and favourite stories and characters from the strip.


Multiversity Comics

• Chris Cole speaks with Mike Deodato Jr. about The Resistance Universe: The Origins, creative freedoms, and working with Axel Alonso across decades.

• The team poses questions to Chip Zdarsky about Batman, timing for jokes and surprises, the influence of Frank Miller, and the joys of anthologies.


The New York Times

Alexandra Alter talks to Art Spiegelman about Maus, book bannings, having an exhausting 2022, and the return of Breakdowns.



Matthew Schuerman speaks with Jonah Kinigstein about figurative expressionist painting, with input from Gary Groth on publishing Unrepentant Artist: The Paintings of Jonah Kinigstein. 


The Washington Post

Michael Cavna interviews Tori Amos about Little Earthquakes: The Graphic Album, the history of the music that inspired the book, and putting your faith in storytellers.

This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Tom Shapira rang in the new year by looking back to the past, considering Tim Hensley’s Detention #2 and wider body of work in the context of the comics, literary, and social history upon which it draws - “A character doesn’t so much ‘develop’ as it simply becomes more like itself. That this is considered comforting, something one can return to daily with the same certainty as the rising sun, is a commentary on America itself. The desire for things to remain as they are: a non-threatening social continuity.”

• TCJ also presented the annual best comics of the year list, with selections presented in a variety of forms from 33 correspondents located around the world, so, like me, you can feel even guiltier about the books you didn’t quite get around to reading last year, and are already nervously eyeing the list of books slated for release this year, breaking out into a cold sweat as you realise that there’s no space left on your bookshelves anyway, and the longboxes under your desk are starting to encroach out into your living space creating a trip hazard.

• Further round-ups of the crème de la crème of comicked books in 2022, if you’ve not yet had your fill, can be found at The Beat, CBR, Den of Geek, From Cover to Cover, GamesRadar, Paste, Popverse, and Screen Rant.

• Taken from a series of essays written for NPR on the topic of book banning in the U.S., Jerry Craft, author of New Kid, writes on the empathy of younger readers; and Maia Kobabe, author of Gender Queer: A Memoir, writes on the experience of that book becoming the most challenged book of 2021.

• For The New York Times, cartoonist Sarah Andersen writes on the experience of having one’s work manipulated without permission in the pursuit of alt-right virality, and considers the issue of AI image generation and imitation in the wake of this.

• Gary Groth writes for Alta on the experience of first discovering Love and Rockets, before taking on its publication, and the evolution of Jamie Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez' work in its pages.

• Looking ahead to what fresh mysteries may await in the newly birthed year of 2023 CE, for ICv2, Rob Salkowitz makes predictions for the comics industry.

• Osvaldo Oyola closed out 2022 by bidding au revoir to The Middle Spaces, bringing almost a decade of work to a close as the site celebrates its final curtain call with one last look back to the stands of yesteryear, and the concept of ultimate nullification, as depicted in What If? #43.

• Shelfdust’s Top Fifty Comic Book Events rundown completed its cycle of reveal and renewal, but Robocop versus Terminator didn’t win the top spot, so I call a do-over - you can read the choices from 20-11 and 10-1 and make your own judgments accordingly.

• For Solrad, Leo Flemisch writes on the work of Taiyō Matsumoto, and the unique storytelling focus that the mangaka has on the loss of childhood innocence.

• Over at AIPT, Cavan Scott provides writer’s commentary on the recently published, inaugural issue of Dead Seas.

• Chloe Maveal begins The Gutter Review’s 2023 by making an impassioned plea to finally induct John Wagner into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame, and lays out the supporting evidence for this case.

• If you were wondering what a variety of comics creators thought on the big industry news stories of 2022, along with commentary on their freshly published and upcoming projects, then The Beat has you covered in four parts, and Multiversity went the extra mile with five.

• A whistlestop round-up of recent papers from the world of open-access academia, as Richard P. Metzroth writes in Connecticut Law Review on the issue of copyright inequity in comic books; Pramod K. Nayar writes in Critical Humanities on the biopower and biopolitics context of Covid Chronicles: A Comics Anthology; Shannon Sandford writes in TEXT on the rendering of lived experiences in Stuart Campbell’s These Memories Won’t Last; Luka Bekavac writes in Umjetnost Rijeci on the impossible transtemporal artefact of Richard McGuire’s Here; and Diana Budi Darma, Nur Chakim, Fithriyah Inda Nur Abida present a data study of the literary tourism of Marvel comics for ELS-JISH.

• 2008. Wolverine, meet Jason Aaron. Jason Aaron, meet Wolverine.

• Over at The Washington Post, Michael Cavna rounds up the editoon hay-making that is coming from the January 6th fallout.

• For The Daily Cartoonist, which has had a glow-up over the holiday season, Mike Peterson rounds up the editorial beat, as stories concerning Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump, Hunter Biden, and Kevin McCarthy all made headlines.

This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Mex Flentallo returned, as Ramon Villalobos rode solo for a series of interviews with comics creators, kicking things off by speaking with Nick Dragotta about recent comics work and the enjoyable aspects of storytelling, and with Phil Hester about the aesthetic heroes of comic artists and some appreciation of The Band.

• SILENCE! also returned from a brief(er) hiatus, as Gary Lactus and The Beast Must Die reconvened to enjoy the reason for the season, debrief after winter comics festivals, and catch up on some recent reading and self-publishing.

• A couple of Off Panel conversations to ring out the old year and ring in the new, as David Harper spoke with Kieron Gillen about getting back into the superhero groove and writing processes, and with Liana Kangas about Know Your Station and what the deal is with Zestworld.

• Closing out the week with some Cartoonist Kayfabe catch-up, as Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg took a look at Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles doujinshi, some festive Carl Barks Donald Duck stories, Uncanny X-Men #95, R. Crumb’s The Complete Crumb Comic Covers, Los Bros’ Love and Rockets: The First Fifty, Moebius x Penthouse Comix x ‘Batman’, and Katsuhiro Otomo’s layouts/Genga/interviews.

That’s all for this week, back again soon as we keep this links train a-rolling through 2023.