New normals continue to slink into view this week, as old normals refuse the call and defiantly throw their weight around some more, and spoilsports in the world of science and socioeconomics ask if things ever were, and ever will be again, "normal".
But what’s normal for one is abnormal for another, and comics have always liked to buck the trend, so tattoo ‘Damaged’ on your forehead and let’s get weird, with This Week’s Links below.
— Maritsa Patrinos (@MaritsaPatrinos) April 14, 2021
Nice weather for ducks… This week’s news.
• The Center for Cartoon Studies and The Beat have announced the winners for this year's Cartoonist Studio Prize, as Joel Christian Gill takes home the Print Comic of the Year Award for Fights: One Boy’s Triumph Over Violence, while Alex Graham has won the Webcomic of the Year Award for Dog Biscuits, with both netting $1,000 in prize money.
• Comic Con International have announced 2021's Eisner Hall of Fame Nominees, with the judging panel selecting Alberto Breccia, Stan Goldberg, Françoise Mouly, Lily Renée Phillips, Thomas Nast, and Rodolphe Töpffer for automatic induction in this year's round, while a shortlist of 16 individuals - comprising Ruth Atkinson, Dave Cockrum, Kevin Eastman, Neil Gaiman, Max Gaines, Justin Green, Moto Hagio, Don Heck, Klaus Janson, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Hank Ketcham, Scott McCloud, Grant Morrison, Alex Niño, P. Craig Russell, and Gaspar Saladino - will be voted on by comics professionals for the four remaining awards.
• Festival Québec BD announced the winners of this year's Bédéis Causa Awards, via virtual ceremony, with the Grand Prix de la Ville de Québec being awarded to Isabelle Perreault, André Cellard, Patrice Corriveau, and Christian Quesnel's Vous Avez Détruit la Beauté du Monde, while 2021's Prix Albert-Chartier was presented to Julie Doucet for services to the world of Québec comics.
• The nominees for this year’s Doug Wright Awards have been announced - with S. Bédard’s Lonely Boys, Michael DeForge’s Familiar Face, GG’s Constantly, Michel Rabagliati’s Paul at Home, and Walter Scott’s Wendy, Master of Art all in the running for Best Book - this year’s (virtual) prize ceremony will take place on Saturday 8th May.
• Koyama Provides have announced the latest recipient of their grants program, awarding $1,000 to Lark Pien, which is “helping...to connect with a local zine collective to print some Immortal Chicken mini-comics.”
• Recapping some recent existential questions for the comics market, Brian Hibbs breaks down the Marvel/PRH deal over at The Beat, Graeme McMillan looks at the impact recent distribution deals might have on retailers for The Hollywood Reporter, Rob Salkowitz takes an optimistic view of all the above for ICv2, Youkyung Lee documents the (big) money involved in public offerings of Korean Webtoon firms for Bloomberg, and Hugo Martín sounds a note of caution over in-person events in 2021 for The LA Times.
Hellboy and Batman commissions from last year pic.twitter.com/ze7zIB9Aw5
— James Stokoe (@HeGotGronch) April 13, 2021
Belt and braces… This week’s reviews.
• Leonard Pierce reviews the impressionistic inconsistencies of Silver Sprocket’s American Cult: A Graphic History of Religious Cults in America from the Colonial Era to Today, edited by Robyn Chapman - “A lot of the kick of a book like American Cult comes from learning all the bizarre details for the first time. For those unfamiliar with most of the stories told here, it’s likely to be a cornucopia of riches: the whirling blend of violence, sexual misconduct, and theft that never seems to ring alarm bells among true believers; the odd tendency of cults have to ensnare the rich, the famous, and the powerful; the curious details and the things left unsaid. But even for veteran cult-watchers, there are plenty of surprising revelations.”
• Frank M. Young reviews the handsome assemblage of A Cockeyed Menagerie: The Drawings of T. S. Sullivant, edited by Conrad Groth and Curated by RC Harvey - “It would be fascinating to see what Sullivant might have done with the comic strip format. His figures live and breathe for the minute or so we might spend poring over their visual details, reading the caption and chuckling. What might he have done with a narrative that filled pages rather than single panels? It seems unlikely that such a baroque visual style could be maintained; as the early newspaper cartoonists proved, less is more when a reader is asked to partake in a story. Details that enrich the finite canvas of a single-panel cartoon might pall (and exhaust the poor cartoonist!) at greater length.”
• David Brooke reviews the engaging surprises of Tom Taylor, Andy Kubert, et al’s Batman: The Detective #1; and the crossover clarity of Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez, et al’s Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone #1.
• Jordan Richards reviews the cynical humor of Gaku Kuze’s Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan Volume 1.
• Sam Rutzick reviews the iterative qualities of Mark Stack, Mike Becker, et al’s Young Offenders #1.
• Rory Wilding reviews the dark reinventions of Paul Allor, Chris Evenhuis, et al’s G.I. Joe: World on Fire.
• Keigen Rea reviews the genre remixing of Kotoyama’s Call of the Night Volume 1.
• Justin Harrison reviews the frustrating spookiness of Cullen Bunn, Mark Torres, et al’s Phantom on the Scan #1.
• Noelle Reyes reviews the gleeful imperfections of Dave Dwonch and Brockton McKinney's Jenny Zero #1.
Kerry Vineberg reviews the skillful catharsis of Julio Anta, Anna Wieszczyk, et al’s Home #1.
• Tom Murphy reviews the rich poignancy of Richard Short’s Haway Man, Klaus!.
• Andy Oliver reviews the gorgeous fantasy of Joe Todd-Stanton’s Leo and the Gorgon’s Curse.
• Bruno Savill de Jong reviews the ferocious intensity of Barry Windsor-Smith’s Monsters.
Gary Tyrrell reviews the thought-provoking hopefulness of Rose Eveleth et al's Flash Forward: An Illustrated Guide To Possible (And Not So Possible) Tomorrows, edited by Matt Lubchansky and Sophie Goldstein.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan C reviews the nuanced darkness of Cathy Hannah’s The Lonely Grave Of Bobby Franks, the off-kilter details of Aaron Lange’s Cash Grab #10, and the un-fussy strengths of Sam Grinberg’s On A Hot Summer Night I Like To Eat My Favorite Cartoon Characters.
Have starred capsule reviews of:
- The vivid urgency of Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martínez’ Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts.
- The whimsical cheekiness of Imogen Greenberg and Isabel Greenberg’s Athena: Goddess of Wisdom and War.
- The emotional heart of Justin A. Reynolds and Pablo Leon’s Miles Morales: Shock Waves.
- The expressive hopefulness of Shing Yin Khor’s The Legend of Auntie Po.
- The nuanced sweetness of Kaeti Vandorn’s Monster Friends.
- The deadpan fun of Brian Yanish’s Shark and Bot: Sleepaway Champs.
- The captivating glee of Sergio Ruzzier’s Fish and Sun.
• Kobi Bordoley reviews the seamless vision of Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, et al’s Geiger #1.
• Christopher Chiu-Tabet reviews the wholesome history of Sam Maggs and Kendra Wells’ Tell No Tales: Pirates of the Southern Seas.
• Matthew Blair reviews the solid mystery of Cullen Bunn, Mark Torres, et al's Phantom on the Scan #1.
• Christopher Egan reviews the winning turmoil of Chip Zdarsky, Johnnie Christmas, et al's Black Hammer Visions #3.
• Alexander Jones reviews the focused intrigue of Tom Taylor, Andy Kubert, et al's Batman: The Detective #1.
• Kate Kosturski reviews the witty fun of Jody Houser, Roberta Ingranata, et al's Doctor Who: Missy #1.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The breezy mythology of Alex Segura, Monica Gallagher, and George Kambadais’ The Black Ghost.
- The spellbinding atmosphere of Matthew Clarke and Nigel Lynch’s Hardears.
- The breathtaking variety of Silver Sprocket’s American Cult: A Graphic History of Religious Cults in America from the Colonial Era to Today, edited by Robyn Chapman.
Women Write About Comics
• Jameson Hampton reviews the skilful satire of Matt Lubchansky’s The Antifa Super-Soldier Cookbook.
• Sabina Stent reviews the gentle richness of Charles M. Schultz’ Snoopy, Come Home.
• Reagan Anick reviews the easy flow of Greg Keyes, Drew Edward Johnson, et al’s Godzilla: Dominion.
Happy haircut day! pic.twitter.com/ENWvRzb2fx
— Stephen Collins (@stephen_collins) April 13, 2021
Walking on broken glass… This week’s interviews.
• Robert Newsome speaks with Evan Dorkin about Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory, staying on task during the pandemic, winding down freelance work, and handshake deals - “It's weird to be working on my Patreon for a couple hundred people, but it allows me to do more creative stuff. I'm not the kind of person who's a good enough inker to sit there and go “Look at me lay down this beautiful line” or “Look at me draw this amazing anatomy.” I like to talk about my emotional issues, because that seems to strike a chord with a lot of my followers and readers and I since I did Dork #7. I’m aware of that. Most of us have issues and more and more people are comfortable talking about these things.” (CW: suicide)
• Brian Nicholson talks to Ben Sears about Young Shadow, covering the important topics in all-ages comics, and filtering inspirations through one another - “Having the people in the comic eat and almost base their activity around what they’re gonna eat later, that’s what people do in real life. It gives people a way to relate to it even if they don’t connect to the fantastical elements of a story. It’s like 'This guy is just trying to get lunch.' In Miyazaki movies, any time they’re eating [something], you can imagine exactly what it’s like to eat that. I’m not drawing it as hyper detailed visual ASMR as he does, but I feel like cartoon food always looks good.”
Justin Harrison chats with Alex de Campi and Duncan Jones about Madi: Once Upon A Time In The Future, seamless collaborative storytelling, finding artists who can balance the big character moments with the small, and drivers of morality.
• AJ Frost speaks with Ed Piskor about Red Room, pandemic workflow, capturing the zeitgeist for contemporary horror, and outlaw comics.
• Avery Kaplan interviews:
- Pornsak Pichetshote and Alexandre Tefenkgi about The Good Asian, real-life noir inspirations, and the non-fiction elements underpinning the genre staples.
- Joseph P. Illidge, Hannibal Tabu, and Meredith Laxton about MPLS Sound, musical legends, splash pages, and comic book inspirations.
- Rio Youers and Alison Sampson about Sleeping Beauties, pre-empting a real-life pandemic with a fictional one (and vice versa), condensing a novel down into comic form, and depicting the gender spectrum in a gender-focused story.
Jenny Robins talks to Niki Bañados about Return, discovering comics through the internet, the Philippines' comics scene, and emotive colour schemes.
Paul Grist shares details of his upcoming Marvel work on The Union, keeping things local for his creator-owned comics, and plans for the future.
Rob Salkowitz interviews Randall Park and Adrian Tomine about adapting Shortcomings for the screen, the long gestation period of the project, and the importance of diverse stories with complex characters.
Teddy Jamieson speaks with Michael DeForge about Heaven No Hell, formal experimentation, body horror preoccupations, and taking the optimist route.
Jim McLauchlin chats to Marc Hammond about Aw Yeah Comics' thriving in 2020, working with creators at all stages of their careers, and avoiding over-ordering.
The LA Times
Matt Pearce talks to various stakeholders in the NFT ecosystem, as publishers and rights holders start to wake up to the fact that people are making money off their IPs in a volatile marketplace, and market crashes are compounded by trading platforms being hit by DMCA strikes.
Brittany Loggins interviews Liza Donnelly about becoming the fourth woman to draw for The New Yorker, uplifting other women cartoonists, and having a TED talk go viral.
Cheryl Klein talks to Joe Ollman about Fictional Father, half-assing it on social media, taking criticism to heart, and paternal lessons.
JK Parkin speaks with Alex Segura about The Dusk, shifting the crime-fighting superhero paradigm, looking to crime novels for inspiration, and maintaining momentum on crowdfunding campaigns; and interviews Scott Snyder about Nocterra, launching a creator-owned series, and speaking to the moment.
Women Write About Comics
Wendy Browne talks to Jeff Lemire and Caitlin Yarsky about Black Hammer: Reborn, planning time-jumps taking a while, and real-life inspirations for fiction families; and interviews Erica D’Urso about Inferno Girl Red, designing fictional lives, and working out action poses.
hello, spring! ???? pic.twitter.com/HVENbKKb1U
— brogan honor ???? (@broganhonor) April 14, 2021
Time after time… This week’s features and comics.
• Here at TCJ, Cynthia Rose visits Marseilles' Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations to report on Déflagrations (Detonations), an exhibition of 160 drawings, created by children between 1914 and 2020, who have witnessed death due to war or mass crimes - “That is why Detonations has a special resonance now. Covid has forced even secure adults to re-examine routine and their dependence on the predictable. Those are luxuries these young artists lack and there's much to learn from their grit and energy. With nothing more than a pencil or crayon, each goes head-to-head with reality. At least on paper, they're determined to deal with it.”
• Nicole Rudick writes for The Paris Review on Gary Panter’s punk Everyman, Jimbo, his creator’s disruptive journey through the 70s and 80s cultural landscapes, and their charting an anarchic course for our increasingly possible future/present.
• Over at Broken Frontier, Bex (aka Schnumn) breaks down what The ASD Comic Takeover will bring to the internet, as part of April’s Autism Acceptance month, including some previews from creators involved, and why this work is important to them.
• For NeoText, Chloe Maveal looks at the satire of Pál Pusztai’s comic strip Jucika, and the recognisable details of Dean White’s comics coloring work, while Cole Hornaday looks at DC Comics’ censorship of Rick Veitch and Michael Zulli’s Swamp Thing #88 and what could have been both then and now.
• For those wanting some in-depth comics formatting action, Aditya Bidikar is serializing The Comics Creator’s Technical Handbook in a series of newsletters, so trim sizes and bleed sizes will trouble you no more.
• Over at Women Write About Comics, Paulina Przystupa examines the problems with representation in the upcoming The Old Guard: Tales Through Time anthology, and its racist cover imagery setting alarm bells ringing.
• Solrad bang the drum for comics’ other orange cat, Heathcliff, as Andrew Neal charts the patterns that appear in the misunderstood anarchy of Peter Gallagher’s tenure on the strip, Tom Shapira dives deeper into the all-pervading chaos of Gallagher’s work, Alex Hoffman explores the strip’s place in a world of algorithmically-determined relatable #content, and F Stewart Taylor charts the changing course for syndicated strips' legacies in the age of memes and viral humour.
• For Shelfdust, as part of Black Comics History, Matthew Cowans looks at the career origins of Denys Cowan, and the adversity he had to overcome when faced with institutional racism, with his early work in Weird War Tales, while Infinite Crisis continues as Daniel Adkins gives us the 411 on Jessica Cruz, and an oddly familiar presence would like to tell you all about John Stewart.
• Meanwhile, at The Daily Cartoonist, Mike Peterson has a regular round-up of slightly more grounded single-panel work, as the scams continue, border cruelty continues, and vaccination rollouts continue.
• 1986. Wolverine. Thanksgiving Parades, rock star mutants, and bloodshed.
• Some recent longform comics from The Nib, as Niccolo Pizarro shares the trauma experienced in/around Queens’ Elmhurst Hospital during the pandemic; Yazan Al-Saadi and Omar Khouri document the suffering ongoing in Lebanon, as the blast that hit Beirut last year compounded a cycle of pain exacerbated by the pandemic; Arigon Starr, Kalle Benallie, and Eleri Harris share the story of Lilly Tsosie, and how the Navajo Nation has been hit especially hard by the pandemic over the past year; and Ben Passmore experiences a need for change in the fight for change.
• Meanwhile, pandemic teaching continues to be explored in the comics space, as Caitlin Cass recounts lessons learned in teaching art over the last year, for The Lily, and LA Johnson and Eda Uzunlar continue NPR’s series of pandemic teaching comics with a look at how teaching music is changing in the virtual age.
Superman. Variant Cover. 11 x 15. Pen and India ink. 2020.
The color version (by Laura Martin - beautifully done) is now online, so here's the b/w for fun.
Based on some old drawing or other. pic.twitter.com/EgQm3FjVET
— Walter Simonson (@WalterSimonson) March 23, 2021
Straight-to-series… This week’s recommended watching.
• A few upcoming virtual events for your digital calendar, as Drawn and Quarterly’s At Home series continues on 4th May with Darryl Cunningham launching Billionaires and Joe Ollmann launching Fictional Father on 18th May, while Anya Davidson will be appearing as part of Columbia College's Design Lecture Series on 21st April to discuss her work.
• Some recent visits to First Second’s Sketch School, as budding artists can get some handy hints and tips from Eric Jones, Dan & Jason, and Falynn Koch, which should keep them quiet for half an hour or so.
• Eastern Washington University's Get Lit! Festival featured a panel discussion hosted by Sloane Leong with speakers Trung Le Nguyen, Kiku Hughes, Mike Curato, and Ben Passmore discussing their graphic novel work, their storytelling process, researching for their books, and editing after the fact.
• Salt and Honey welcomed their first guest to the new visual incarnation of the podcast/vodcast, as David Brothers joined Sloane Leong and Leslie Hung to discuss the manga and anime Kakegurui, and its cast of gambling lunatics/lunatic gamblers.
• The Believer and Black Mountain Institute’s Cartoon Workshop series continued, as Peter Quach took viewers through drawing a post-pandemic future, and thinking up a hypothetical new normal for when things start to get a little safer out there (starts around the 2m30s mark).
• Classics all the way down for Cartoonist Kayfabe this week, as Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg were joined by Warren Bernard for a look at Fantastic Four #48-50, Action Comics #48, Carl Barks’ Uncle Scrooge, Krazy Kat, and a brief history of graphic novels.
• A couple of cartoonist chats with Noah Van Sciver this week, as he sat down with Mike Dawson to discuss the good and the bad of comicking, and spoke with Dan Stafford about the upcoming Blammo collection.
• Strip Panel Naked returned, and this time around Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou dissected the temporospatial properties of comics via Jesse Lonergan’s Hedra.
• A trip up in the Word Balloon, as John Siuntres welcomed Gary “Moondog” Colabuono to the show to discuss the history of the Chicago comics scene, and the evolution of comics retail and eventing, and what comics were worth reading throughout.
Fishermen friends pic.twitter.com/YnsKkI1wO0
— Fred Blunt (@FredBlunt) April 14, 2021
Let’s remix it… This week’s easy-listening.
• Kicking off this week’s podcast selection with a rare appearance from Frank Quitely, as David Harper welcomed him to Off Panel to discuss the impact of his career, keeping a pre-internet pseudonym, developing a style, and freshening up superhero properties.
• A couple of comics folk making it then telling everybody this week, as Dan Berry spoke to Eleri Harris about good comics and good journalism, and chatted with Stephanie Cooke about the realities of making the jump to freelance life.
• David Brothers hosted this week’s episode of Mangasplaining, as the gang read through the entirety of Nobuaki Tadano’s 7 Billion Needles, and spoilerified its various twists and turns.
• Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come went full inside-baseball this week, as Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Kate Fitzsimons looked back and forward on what is continuing to be a tumultuous time in all aspects of the comics industry.
• Something a little different from SILENCE! this week, as Gary Lactus was down a The Beast Must Die, but up a selection of guest hosts, as he was joined by Spare 5, Douglas Noble, Kelly Kanayama, and Tom Mortimer to discuss some recent (and not so recent) comics (and not so comics) faves.
Get taken for a ride in FASTER by @jesselonergans! Outlandish racers, high-octane racing action, mesmerizing panel layout! Don't miss it!
— Bulgilhan Press (@bulgilhan) April 14, 2021
That’s all for this week, comic shops and pubs have reopened in fair olde Englande, so I can feasibly burn my disposable income in the great outdoors again, once I get some sweet vaccination juice in my arm. To the surgery!
— daniel (@ohitszhou) April 14, 2021