Say Goodbye to Classical Reality – This Week’s Links

Bidding farewell to April, and laying out the welcome mat for May, in the only way that we possibly know how - by presenting a selection of this week’s links from the world of comics, below, in a tradition as old as recorded time itself.

This week’s news.

• Starting the week off with news of yet another comics publisher laying off a swathe of staff, as IDW Media Holdings announced that they would be cutting their workforce by 39%, "retaining essential personnel who are most directly related to preserving current operations and launching the Company on its new trajectory," as well as voluntarily delisting itself from the NYSE American exchange (on which its stock price dropped by over 40% following the announcement), in order to further the company's 'recovery and growth plans', after posting big losses over the last two fiscal quarters. The Beat later reported that these layoffs include IDW's entire marketing and PR staff, and half of editorial, with changes at the posts of CEO, CFO, and COO.

Comics awards news, and the Los Angeles Times announced the winners of their 43rd annual Book Prizes, with Jamilla Rowser and Robyn Smith taking home this year’s prize for best graphic novel/comic for Wash Day Diaries.

• Book banning news, and the American Library Association announced the 13 most challenged books of 2022, a year that saw 1,269 documented demands to censor books, setting a fairly ignominious record, with Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer coming in at the top of the list, and Mike Curato’s Flamer the fourth most challenged book of the year.

• Positive record setting news, and manga publisher Shueisha announced last week that Yoko Kamio's Boys Over Flowers has officially been recognised by Guinness World Records as having the most ever published copies of a single-author shōjo manga series, with 59,409,000 copies in circulation at the end of last year.

• Criminal prosecution news, and actor Ray Buffer pled guilty to misdemeanour petty theft in San Diego Superior Court last week, admitting to stealing $854 worth of comics from Southern California Comics last October, receiving one year of probation, and having to serve 12 hours of community service.

• In memoriam, remembering those the world of comics has lost, and news was shared of the passing of underground comix cartoonist Ted Richards, creator of Dopin’ Dan and former Air Pirate, who died last week aged 76.

This week’s reviews.


• Brian Nicholson reviews the rich balance of Josie Perry and Daphne Simons’ Plasma Spring: Halloweel - “The humor is of a type familiar from drag shows, John Waters movies or the comedy of Kate Berlant: gay, in short, but not about an insider’s observed view of subculture as much as originating from an outsider’s tongue-in-cheek view of the mainstream. That means pasting the recognizable inside a mélange of degradation where all characters are basically horrible and, therefore, noting their low moral standing seems besides the point.”

• Oliver Ristau reviews the metatextual matrices of L. L. de Mars' Commentaire sur les Sentences de Pierre Lombard - That's exactly the visual texture striven for by L. L. de Mars. With its constant reiteration of the same subject, one person caressingly held by another, sparsely varied from panel to panel, the laborious effort of building your own think tank to steamroll all those who came before you, like Thomas Aquinas, becomes plastically picturesque. A continuous labor of love, taped, repainted and whited-out; the pilgrim's progress, if you will.



• Crooker reviews the refreshing beginning of Joshua Williamson, Sean Izaakse, et al’s Green Arrow #1.

• David Brooke reviews the slow setup of Declan Shalvey, Andrea Broccardo, et al’s Alien #1.

• Lukas Shayo reviews the surprising twists of Kieron Gillen, Paco Medina, Lucas Werneck, et al’s Sins of Sinister: Dominion #1.

• Timothy O’Neil reviews the transgressive silliness of Leah Williams, Carlos Gómez, et al’s X-Terminators.

• Holly Woodbury reviews the heartfelt friendship of Christopher Painter, Bob Quinn, et al’s Black Cat Social Club.

• Colin Moon reviews the accessible presentation of Blab! Volume 1, edited by Monte Beauchamp.

• Rory Wilding reviews the compelling atmosphere of Ryo Minenami’s Boy’s Abyss, translated by John Werry.


The Beat

• Zack Quaintance reviews the stunning set-pieces of Florent Ruppert and Jérôme Mulot’s The Extraordinary Part, Book One: Orsay’s Hands.

• Steve Baxi reviews the diminishing returns of James Tynion IV, Martin Simmonds, et al's The Department of Truth, Volume 4: The Ministry of Lies.

• Cy Beltran reviews the explosive conclusion of Kieron Gillen, Paco Medina, Lucas Werneck, et al’s Sins of Sinister: Dominion #1.


Broken Frontier

• Lindsay Pereira reviews the empathetic insights of Rina Ayuyang's The Man in the McIntosh Suit.

• Andy Oliver reviews the impressive imagery of Xiaoyi Hu’s Fire Flowers, the potent messaging of Mary M Talbot and Bryan Talbot’s Rain, and the enticing moodiness of Alice Urbino’s Green Thumbs.


From Cover to Cover

Scott Cederlund reviews the expressive fun of Leslie Stein's Brooklyn's Last Secret.


The Guardian

Rachel Cooke reviews the hilarious satire of Aisha Franz’s Work-Life Balance.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ Nightcrawlers #3, X-Force #39, New Mutants: Lethal Legion #2, X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #38, Marvel’s Voices Infinity Comic #49, Bishop: War College #3, X-Treme X-Men #5, and The X-Cellent #2.


Los Angeles Review of Books

Andrew Montiveo reviews the biting humour of Charles Johnson’s All Your Racial Problems Will Soon End


Multiversity Comics

• Jaina Hill reviews the enjoyable familiarity of Greg Rucka, Eric Trautman, Mike Henderson, et al’s The Forged #2.

• Matthew Blair reviews the gorgeous scares of Steve Foxe, Piotr Kowalski, et al’s All Eight Eyes #1.

• Joe Skonce reviews the excellent villainy of Marvel Comics' Darth Vader: Black, White & Red #1.



Tahneer Oksman reviews the moving earnestness of Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s Sunshine.


Publisher’s Weekly

Have capsule reviews of:

- The breezy looseness of Peter Lorenz’s Moon Boots: The Chronicle of a Country Crooner.

- The uneven condensing of Paul Peart-Smith’s adaptation of W.E.B. Du Bois’ Souls of Black Folk.

- The deadpan melancholy of Woshibai’s 20 KM/H, translated by Megan Tan and Francine Yulo.

- The elegant eroticism of Ryo Minenami’s Boy’s Abyss, translated by John Werry.

- The gorgeous tumult of Marcello Quintanilha’s Listen, Beautiful Márcia, translated by Andrea Rosenberg.

- The fierce energy of Claire Dunlan’s The Amazing Camel Toe, translated by Celina Bernstein.



• Kevin Brown reviews the compelling tapestry of Deena Mohamed’s Shubeik Lubeik.

• Tasha Lowe-Newsome reviews the wonderful vibrancy of Pete Katz’s adaptation of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.


Women Write About Comics

• Alenka Figa reviews the sweet humour of Sara Valta’s Polyamory Comics.

• Nola Pfau reviews the beautiful composition of Briana Loewinsohn's Ephemera: A Memoir.

This week’s interviews.


Dash Shaw interviews Joe Kessler about The Gull Yettin, the story’s origins, bringing it into focus, and enjoying yourself while drawing - “Once I got rid of words I realized it'd been inevitable. I'd been creeping in that direction. It’s more work. Much more drawing. But once I did it everything felt more powerful and I could say things and go to places that I otherwise couldn’t. Everything was direct. There was nowhere to hide. Like a barrier being removed. The story is more alive.”



• Chris Hassan speaks with Jordan D. White and creators helming the current line of X-Men comics about all the current comings and goings in Krakoa.

• David Brooke talks to Morgan Hampton about Cyborg, rebooting and evolving the character, and the intentionality needed to be a successful writer.


The Beat

• Rebecca Oliver Kaplan chats with Ron Marz and Andy Lanning about Resolution, returning to the cosmic wheelhouse, and the benefit of creator-owned books.

• Avery Kaplan interviews Nidhi Chanani about Shark Princess: Shark Party and the birthday celebration origins of the story, and Ayize Jama-Everett and Tristan Roach about The Last Count of Monte Cristo and introductions to the source material.



Steven Heller talks to billy woods and m. musgrove about A is for Anarchist, pandemic creative projects, and what it takes to change human behaviour.


Publisher’s Weekly

Deb Aoki speaks with various manga publishers in the North American markets about the medium’s current boom, and the digital publishing push.


Smash Pages

JK Parkin talks to Zane Barrow, Michael Conrad, Craig Hurd-McKenney and Jok about the Gold Key Comics revival, and the enduring appeal of Boris Karloff.


Women Write About Comics

Emily Lauer chats with Ben Wilgus about Grace Needs Space!, pitching books and working titles, and sneaking educational information about the moon of Titan into a story.

This week’s features and longreads.

• Here at TCJ, Andrew Farago writes in remembrance of comics historian Maurice Horn, who passed away at the end of last year, aged 91 - “Horn was a complex individual, with one historian offering up the concise summary of his legacy as “pioneering but problematic.” Maybe that was exactly the kind of person that comics, dismissed by academics and even many in the field as a subject unworthy of respect, needed when Horn entered–and, in many ways, created–the study of comics history and comics appreciation.”

• Also for TCJ, Matt Seneca presents a birthday selection of capsule reviews of some recent titles, from across the publishing spectrum, comprising Jon Chandler’s John’s Worth, Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s The Ambassador’s #1, Dennis Culver and Chris Burnham’s Unstoppable Doom Patrol #1, Caroline Cash’s PeePee PooPoo #69, Steve Skroce’s Clobberin' Time #1, and Joe Kessler’s The Gull Yettin - “But here's the thing: you know the reason one-shot issues worked back in the Silver Age, the era everyone doing that with their superhero comic is aiming for in the first place, whether they know it or not? Those comics had scope.”

• Finally at TCJ this week, Tegan O'Neil charts a journey across the peerless career of Sergio Aragonés, from DC, through MAD, and arriving at latter-day Groo adventures - The fact is plain: Groo should be a lot more popular and a lot better known than it is. In an era where Bone can be found in school libraries across the country, and Usagi Yojimbo will never go out of print, it’s an unmitigated shame that Groo remains a cult proposition. This isn’t obscure arthouse material, this is broad slapstick and silly rhyming. And massacres, yes, true. But funny massacres. Who doesn’t love a funny massacre?

• For The New Yorker, Sam Thielman profiles Héctor Germán Oesterheld, the writer’s life and work, and the path to publication for Evita: The Life and Work of Eva Perón.

 Print's Steven Heller writes a brief appreciation of cartoonist Syd Hoff, and Hoff's work under the pen name A. Redfield for radical left-wing periodicals of the 1930s.

• d. emerson eddy’s Classic Comic Compendium continues at The Beat, this edition looking back on Paul Chadwick’s Concrete, and the gripping change of pace to the series in the Killer Smile arc.

• Over at Shelfdust, Steve Morris writes in appreciation of the cloud city of Bespin’s administrator, Lobot, and the ending of that character’s story in Charles Soule and Alex Maleev’s Star Wars: Lando; and the shifting focus of Mike Carey and Peter Gross’ The Unwritten #10 to the history of Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda machine in Nazi Germany; and William Moo looks back at volume three of Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto, and the allegories for real world conflict to be found in its pages.

• Polygon's series on espionage in popular culture continues, and Oli Welsh has a feature on Hergé's intrepid reporter being drawn into the Cold War, in The Adventures of Tintin: The Calculus Affair, and its author's cynicism regarding warring nation states.

• From the world of open-access academia, writing in BMC Education, Małgorzata Lesińska-Sawicka presents a paper on using graphic medicine to support traditional teaching methods of nursing students.

• For The Albatross, Kalea Furmanek-Raposo writes on Kate Beaton’s Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands, and the liminal space the setting becomes in Beaton’s work.

• Over at The Washington Post, Michael Cavna takes a look at the response of cartoonists to the high profile removals of Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon from their former roles.

• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as the fall of Tucker Carlson and Fox’s lawsuit settlement grabbed headlines (except on Fox News), alongside the seemingly permanent coverage of shootings in the United States.

This week’s audio/visual delights.

• Austin English hosted the latest meeting of the New York Comics and Picture-Story Symposium, as Pris Genet spoke this week on the Organ Bank project, the work it publishes, the ethos behind this, and wider themes and truths explored in transgressive works of horror.

• Katie Skelly and Sally Madden reconvened for a fresh edition of Thick Lines, as the high holiday of 4/20 was celebrated with a look at the ‘interesting’ PSA comics to be found on contemporary social media, and getting a guided viewing of some Guido Crepax originals.

• Gil Roth welcomed Ho Che Anderson to this week’s edition of The Virtual Memories Show, as they spoke about Godhead’s journey to publication, writing across media, cancelled work at Marvel Comics, and the joys of science fiction.

• Brian Hibbs convened the April meeting of Comix Experience’s Graphic Novel of the Month Club, speaking with Mari Costa about Belle of the Ball, creating serialised work compared to graphic novels, and prominently featuring the colour pink.

• Meg Lemke spoke with Archie Bongiovanni for the latest edition of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they discussed new book Mimosa, the characters and community to be found therein, and the realities of graphic novel publishing in the age of record book bannings.

• Checking another week off on the calendar with Cartoonist Kayfabe, as this week Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg took a look at Kevin Nowlan’s Marvel Heroes: Artist’s Edition, 1995’s Wizard #53, Daniel Clowes’ Eightball #18, Katsuhiro Otomo’s Kaba 2, and Mike Mignola and Richard Corben’s Hellboy: The Crooked Man.

That’s all for this week, next time will bring yet more links, as convention and festival season kicks into high gear.