Roadside Picnic – This Week’s Links

Fresh NFT news has arrived, fresh as the driven snow, available as part of This Week’s Links, below, and just as depressing as all that which came before it. 

At this point I am mostly consoling myself that there are a mere three weeks until I am allowed, by federal law, to rewatch the waking fever dream that is Kurt Russell’s The Christmas Chronicles, and can thereby regress into a fantasy world where tokens of both a fungible and non-fungible nature do not exist.

So it goes… This week’s news.

• Following up on last week’s big news story, and it transpires that Image Comics will not be voluntarily recognising the formation of Comic Book Workers United, instead requiring the National Labor Relations Board to hold a secret-ballot election to determine whether eligible Image Comics office staff want the Communications Workers of America to represent them - this despite 10 of those 12 eligible workers having voted to support the formation of CBWU - an open-letter in support of voluntary recognition for the union can still be signed here.

• Other news in the world of ‘Image Comics is as Image Comics does’ arrived this week, as Todd McFarlane and Steve Aoki announced the launch of a new NFT marketplace, described as “the Image Comics model all over again,” which somewhat reduces said model to that bit from The Simpsons wherein Sideshow Bob repeatedly steps on rakes. The irony of this announcement being made the day before the draft outcomes of the Cop26 climate summit were published, stating that greenhouse gas emissions are currently high above what is needed to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C, was likely lost on the duo, and they compounded this by failing to use the low-hanging fruit of ‘Non-Fungible Todd-kens’. Typical.

• Continuing what has been a fairly brutal year for Diamond Comic Distributors, as the websites for DCD and Alliance Game Distributors were hit by ransomware attacks, with both companies' main websites down for almost a week, affecting online ordering - the attacks ultimately did not result in a change to final order cutoffs, but did require the launch of a temporary website for the issuing of updates on the matter - new orders are shipping for this week, but some delays may occur.

• In memoriam, remembering those that the comic world has lost, as news was shared via social media that King Features Syndicate and DC colorist Gene D’Angelo recently passed away, aged 97 - The Daily Cartoonist gathered a selection of remembrances of D’Angelo from peers and colleagues.

The reason for the season… This week’s reviews.


• Tucker Stone reviews the throbbing extremity of Gilbert Hernandez’ Blubber #6 - “What it reads like--even more so than previous pornographic works by Hernandez--is some kind of illustrated therapeutic journaling, a sketchbook exercise that's been refined for publication. There's just too much raw, explicit depictions of increasingly fantastic sex and penetration, the kind that would probably be called "body horror" if it reached a level of verisimilitude that Gilbert's humor helps it avoid.”

• Nicholas Burman reviews the poetic ambiguity of Ibrahim R. Ineke’s Eloise - “The repetition of Eloise’s quotidian surroundings throughout the opening pages means that the surreal and disorientating conclusion packs a giddying punch. This juxtaposition of the spiritual with the suburban is always a winner; it’s thrilling when humanity’s strange intensities, buried beneath the surface of middle-class, semi-detached life, spill out uncontrollably.”



• Colin Moon reviews the singular post-apocalypse of Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss’ What’s the Furthest Place From Here #1, and the poignant details of R. Kikuo Johnson’s No One Else.

• Nathan Simmons reviews the exceptional evolution of Al Ewing, Ram V, Bryan Hitch, et al’s Venom #1.

• David Brooke reviews the vibrant emotions of Walter Mosley, Tom Reilly, et al’s The Thing #1.

• Ronnie Gorham reviews the suspenseful hilarity of Brian Buccellato, Hayden Sherman, et al’s Chicken Devil #2.

• Alex Cline reviews the impressive beginnings of Ibarakino, Morohoshi Fuji, Yu Hitaki, et al’s Even Given the Worthless ‘Appraiser’ Class, I’m Actually the Strongest, Volume 1.


The Beat

Avery Kaplan reviews the interesting plot-threads of Danielle Paige, PJ Kaiowá, et al’s #ZoeMG #1.


Broken Frontier

Andy Oliver has reviews of:

- The anti-capitalist intrigues of Nick Gonzo’s Black Dragon #1.

- The jaunty misadventures of Dan White’s Cindy and Biscuit: Year One.

- The potent delicacy of Rebecca K. Jones’ Boomerang, Part 2: Winter.

- The tactile masterpiece of Mereida’s Naglalamay.

- The cyclical focus of Sean Azzopardi’s One for the Road.

- The uncompromising observations of Natasha Natarajan’s FML Comics #5.

- The abstract profundity of Peony Gent’s Three Comics.

- The brooding intensity of Douglas Noble’s Really Horrible Folk.

- The fascinating diversions of Peter Morey’s Endswell #3.

- The breathtaking triumph of John Reppion and MD Penman’s The Green Knight.


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan C reviews the balanced absurdity of Josh Simmons’ Birth of the Bat, the over-ambitious execution of Winston Gambro’s Overflow, and the staggering scope of Scott Finch’s The Domesticated Afterlife.


The Guardian

Rachel Cooke reviews the emotive brilliance of Keum Suk Gendry-Kim’s The Waiting, translated by Janet Hong.


Multiversity Comics

• Joe Skonce reviews the shining metanarrative of Chris Roberson, Abel, et al’s Stranger Things Winter Special #1.

• Brian Salvatore reviews the subtle plotting of Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Daniel Sampere, et al’s Action Comics #1036.

• John Schaidler reviews the formulaic beginnings of Christopher Cantwell, Luca Casalanguida, et al’s Regarding the Matter of Oswald’s Body #1.



Thúy Đinh reviews the bittersweet beauty of Keum Suk Gendry-Kim’s The Waiting, translated by Janet Hong.


The Paris Review

Jay Graham has a capsule review of the stunning textures of Dominique Goblet’s Pretending Is Lying, translated by Sophie Yanow.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The dazzling wonders of Ron Regé Jr’s Halcyon.

- The frustrated dread of Michael W. Conrad and Noah Bailey’s Tremor Dose.

- The rambling fantasy of Jeff Smith’s Tuki.

- The satisfying intricacy of Mark Sable and Salgood Sam’s Dracula: Son of the Dragon.

- The upbeat agency of Allison Shaw’s Persephone: Hades’ Torment.



• Helen Chazan reviews the inviting tensions of Takako Shimura’s Even Though We’re Adults Volumes 1 & 2, translated by Jocelyne Allen.

• Hagai Palevsky reviews the dreamlike melody of Zuo Ma’s Night Bus, translated by R. Orion Martin.


Women Write About Comics

• Lisa Fernandes reviews the playful mayhem of Marvel Comics’ Deadpool: Black, White and Blood #2.

• Kayleigh Hearn reviews the verbose machinations of Jonathan Hickman, Stefano Caselli, et al’s Inferno #2.

• Emily Lauer reviews the wholesome fantasy of Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Asiah Fulmore, et al’s Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld.

• Melissa Brinks reviews the uneven quality of A Wave Blue World’s Dead Beats Volume 2: London Calling, edited by Joe Corallo and Eric Palicki.

You look down and see a tortoise… This week’s interviews.


Robert Newsome interviews Łukasz Kowalczuk about Poland’s comics history, working in the field of independent tabletop roleplaying games, and Poland’s small but solid indie comics scene - “The whole idea of doing stories that are supposed to sell toys and still making the stories interesting and appealing is mind-blowing to me. The fact that you could have comics and cartoons like Transformers and GI Joe that were created as advertising material but they’re still readable and watchable today. Larry Hama is the greatest.”



• David Brooke talks to Tom King about Human Target, historical and contemporary influences, the enduring appeal of Justice League International, and plotting mystery beats.

• Chris Coplan interviews Harmony Becker about Himawari House, learning on the job, connecting with people through the page, and constantly thinking about death.



Sarah Cascone talks to artist Hallie Bateman, and Artists Rights Society's Vice President Katarina Feder, about Belgian art foundation the Stichting Ijsberg's unauthorised use and altering of Bateman's artwork It's A Miracle We Ever Met, and the widespread issue of infringement on artists' copyright of this kind in physical and digital spaces.


The Beat

• Deanna Destito speaks with Joe Harris and Megan Hutchison-Cates about Rockstars, upping sticks from Image to Vault, rock and roll conspiracies, and hair metal crime fighters; and with Dailen Ogden, Collin Kelly, and Jackson Lanzing about WifWulf, exploring trauma narratives through folklore, crowdfunding decisions, and working with Vault.

• Gregory Paul Silber interviews Christopher Sebela about .SELF, abstract story genesis, protecting personal data, and stories indirectly about depression.

• Dean Simons chats with Matt Smith about Hellboy:The Bones of the Giants, origins with illustrating Big Red, Norse mythology interests, and adaptation processes.

• Ricardo Serrano Denis interviews Andrea Mutti about Maniac of New York, accidental giallo influences, emotional coloring over descriptive coloring, and different ways of connecting with readers.

• Avery Kaplan speaks with Mariko Tamaki about new imprint Surely Books, bringing more voices into the queer comics space, thinking outside the box, and avoiding editorial mandates for tone and setting.



Steve Baltin talks to Chuck D, Mikey Way, Vince Staples, and Z2’s executive team about the publisher’s marrying comics with music, the musicians’ connections to comics, and creating synergy between the two mediums.



Charles Pulliam-Moore interviews Comic Book Workers United about choosing when to form their union, damaging narratives pushed by publishers, and the support of the Communication Workers of America.



Talk to Jason Chatfield about one hundred years of Ginger Meggs, the history of the character, the disconnect of reading American comic strips growing up in Australia, and the importance of reflecting cultural diversity in 2021.


Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics

Darnel Degand interviews Dawud Osaze Kamau Anyabwile about Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline, art and media narrative educations, pioneering airbrush t-shirt art, and comic book origins.


Multiversity Comics

Brian Salvatore continues a look back at the genesis of DC’s New 52, this week speaking to Justin Jordan about Green Lantern: New Guardians, putting out fires, creative friendships, and the duelling concerns of business and creativity.



Ana Diaz talks to Andrew Hussie about Psycholonials, life after Homestuck, story-making during a year of pandemics and protests, fandom as a cult, parasocial audience obsessions, and telling stories about the Extremely Online for the Extremely Online.


Smash Pages

• JK Parkin interviews Stephanie Williams about Nubia and the Amazons, fancomic origins, creative mentors, and introducing a trans character into Themyscira.

• Alex Dueben speaks with Harmony Becker about Himawari House, webcomic origins, the joys of learning other languages, and being spoiled by a debut book project.



• Matthew Jackson talks to RL Stine about Just Beyond, starting with the title, the essential fears of childhood, and generational fandom; and with Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans about the end of DIE, character evolutions, not overwhelming the reader, and the democracy of roleplaying games.

• Mike Avila interviews Jamie Lee Rotante about The Best of Archie Comics: 80 Years, 80 Stories, crafting a perfect archival system, and remaining mindful of modern sensibilities.


Women Write About Comics

Wendy Browne speaks with Sal Abbinanti about Atomika: God is Red, crowdfunding lessons learned, story plotting processes, and personal Cold War history.

As recommended by the Surgeon General… This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Nate Doyle reports from The Philippe Labaune Gallery’s exhibition ‘Tanino Liberatore: Poetry Interrupted!’, and explores the cinematic excess, and unexpected artistic simplicity, that Liberatore’s work can embody - “Sexual tones, from the overt to the obvious, snake their way through a majority of the works in the show. At this point it’s what one can come to expect from Liberatore; sex is inherent to, if not responsible for his work. Though gratuitous, his gaze is respectful, the distinction clear. Where someone like Milo Manara loses me with a casual misogyny and his objectification of women, Liberatore’s approach is less out of a desire to control and exploit, but in admiration and meant to empower.”

• Also here at TCJ, Jon Holt and Teppei Fukuda present their translation of Professor Natsume Fusanosuke’s essay on the late 20th/early 21st century evolution of manga, as embodied by Takahashi Rumiko - “Baby boomers, including myself, saw manga as something original. Anime, for us, was a spinoff, something less real to us. We were very attached to our manga. Usually, boys back then didn’t even read shōjo manga. During this time, comic magazines moderated the systematization of the gender divide. However, I am pretty sure that the generation younger than us were also consuming manga in the same manner that they consumed anime. Shōjo manga had strong and cute (and sometimes sexy) female icons, like wizard girls, and romantic relationships. Those two things were not completely foreign to shōnen manga.”

• Finally for TCJ this week, Breakdown Press share an excerpt from Conor Stechschulte’s Generous Bosom #4, on sale now, and recently adapted for the screen as Ultrasound.

• For NeoText Review, Chloe Maveal writes on the career of Mick McMahon, and the creator’s ever-evolving, and ever-distinctive, art style; and celebrates the often-overlooked work of Bill Mantlo, just in time for the creator’s birthday.

• Shelfdust’s Field Theory series continues, as Rasmus Lykke considers Garfield’s engagement with the social contract, and the persona portrayed by the lasagna-loving feline; and Kelly Kanayama writes on Sandman #19, and the perils of falling into the traps of cliched depictions of gendered genius/why you don’t mess with faeries.

• For AIPT, Lia Williamson writes on depictions of addiction and recovery through the lens of Marvel Comics’ Siryn, and how representation of addicts as fallible humans deserving of empathy matters to those who have gone through their own battles with addiction.

• From Cover to Cover continue their launch month, as pieces are shared on the solidly constructed catharsis of Nate Powell’s Save it for Later, the playful depths of Rumiko Takahashi’s Maison Ikkoku, and the conclusion of NK Jemisin and Jamal Campbell’s Far Sector.

• Mike Peterson rounded up the week’s editorial beat over at The Daily Cartoonist, as Aaron Rodgers sacked himself, the Infrastructure Bill’s passing came as a surprise, and party politics continued to do as they will.

• 1994. The Direct Market is doomed. And Wolverine is getting existential.

• A few open-access offerings from the world of academia, as Jarczewski Andrzej writes in Architectus on Bjarke Ingels’ Yes Is More, and how embracing novel visual media can help mitigate an industry’s manifestos becoming staid; Haris Hasan writes in the Journal of Women Empowerment and Studies on the depiction of female characters and violence in Raj Comics titles, and the male gaze regarding depiction of female body parts in Indian graphic fiction; and Vittorio Frigerio presents the introductory essay from the latest issue of Paradoxa, with an in-depth examination of the terminological schism between ‘graphic novels’ and ‘comics’.

Only in theatres… This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Starting off this week’s selection with some recent book launches hosted by Brooklyn’s Greenlight Bookstore, as Tom Kaczynski spoke with Lane Milburn about Lure and psychic planets (begins in earnest around the 5 minute mark), Abraham Reisman talked to Jeremy Dauber about American Comics: A History and the democratizing of cartooning by the internet (starts around the 3 minute mark), and Evan Narcisse spoke to Douglas Wolk about All of the Marvels and the aspirational nature of superhero comics (starts about 4 minutes in).

• Another recent virtual book launch took place over on Fantagraphics' Facebook page, hosted by Secret Headquarters, as Evan Narcisse talked to Lane Milburn about Lure, musical influences on the book, keeping the comics making process fresh, and using dialogue to explore the book's more grounded themes around its genre elements.

• Drawn and Quarterly’s series of live creator conversation continued, as Joe Ollman talked with Phillipe Girard about Leonard Cohen: On A Wire, favourite albums of Cohen’s, the parallel lives of the Québecois, translational differences (starts around the 6 minute mark).

• An in-conversation Cartoonist Kayfabe style as well this week, as Jim Rugg talked to co-host Ed Piskor about Red Room: The Antisocial Network, before breaking the spines on some books made by other people, including Vaughn Bodē's Cheech Wizard, and the DC epic Batman: Knightfall, along with deposition of one Neil Gaiman, and topping things off by interviewing Mike Mignola about a storied career in comic books.

• A few trips up in the Word Balloon with John Siuntres this week, as Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Jimenez spoke about Wonder Woman Historia, Alex Saviuk discussed a career in superheroics and giant sandwiches, and Ryan Stegman talked Venom and podcasting.

• 2000 AD’s Thrill Cast beamed down to earth once more, as MOLCH-R spoke with Scott Montgomery about chronicling the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic in The 2000 AD Encyclopedia, plus a chat with 2000 AD comics competition judges about how you go about doing that.

• Deb Aoki took the reins for this week’s edition of Mangasplaining, as the team discussed Yukinobu Tatsu’s emphatically adult new title DanDanDan, and the hot content to be found within.

• David Haerper welcomed Pornsak Pichetshote to Off Panel to talk about The Good Asian, comic book origin stories and editing at Vertigo, and what’s going on with comics at the moment anyway.

That’s all for this week, who knows what fresh delights the future will bring?