The 2020s’ cosplay of the 1920s was really hitting hard this week, with the spectre of banking collapses and global recessions floating in and out of the frame, while I doggedly stared down at the pages of the comics I was trying to read in order to not think about the many sources of existential anxiety pressing upon me, before giving up and setting to the task of compiling this week’s links, which you can read below - maybe also while a vein pops out on your forehead and your smartwatch shrilly warns you about your skyrocketing resting heart rate?
Demon Bonfire pic.twitter.com/TUKWxLsgoZ
— Marisa is Having Nightmares (@MarisasHorror) March 23, 2023
This week’s news.
• Starting the week with more on book-banning attempts in the US, as the Associated Press reports on legislation being pushed across the nation, targeting publications with LGBTQ* content, in the week that Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ controversial education bill, which could compel the removal of books from libraries in all 327 of the state’s districts, passed the State Senate - the American Library Association shared figures this week that the organisation tracked challenges against 2,571 unique titles in 2022, a 38% increase from 2021’s figures, with the majority of works written by LGBTQ* authors, or containing LGBTQ* themes.
• In other libraries news, oral arguments began this week in Hachette v. Internet Archive, in a copyright case that could affect the future of controlled digital lending, as the Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library initiative, launched during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, drew the ire of publishers - U.S. District Judge John Koeltl appeared sceptical of the Archive’s invocation of fair use as a defence, and the right of libraries to reproduce books in their collections.
• ICv2 reports on comic store sales trends from 2022’s figures, as the 50th anniversary of the Direct Market looks set to be marked by the end of a boom cycle for retail - The Beat does some digging into the number of stores currently active, with data suggesting that this figure remained stable in 2022.
• In memoriam, remembering those the world of comics has lost, and news was shared this week of the passing of comics inker Joe Giella, aged 94 - you can read TCJ’s 2019 interview with Giella here.
very very excited to bring the first RISO PRINTED cover to the new yorker @NewYorker !!!! 🌟🌟 i will be selling limited edition prints of the cover with 50% of the proceeds donated to Black trans individuals in need of mutual aid or gender affirming surgery! pic.twitter.com/zGI8HVoThd
— Sarula Bao 🌟小宝 (@bao__haus) March 20, 2023
This week’s reviews.
• Andrew Field reviews the adventurous explorations of Paul B. Rainey’s Why Don’t You Love Me? - “It is a remarkable graphic novel, which balances pathos, cruelty, realism and science fiction in an astonishing way.”
• Tom Shapira reviews the gleeful fun of Simon Roy and Damon Gentry’s Grip of the Kombinat - “Reading this book, you will not be surprised to discover that corporations are bad, that politics are a filthy business, and that employees shouldn’t try and suck up to their bosses (figuratively and literally). And you know what? I’m fine with that. As long as the stories are entertaining and executed with the right amount of assuredness backed by talent, I can take being preached to at high volume.”
• David Canham reviews the whimsical reimagining of Zach Weinersmith and Boulet’s Bea Wolf.
• Colin Moon reviews the powerful eloquence of Briana Loewinsohn’s Ephemera.
• Nathan Simmons reviews the cosmic excitement of Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad, Liam Sharp, et al’s X-O Manowar Unconquered #1.
• Lia Williamson reviews the passionate celebration of Marvel Comics’ Women of Marvel #1.
• Robert Reed reviews the winning blend of DC’s Milestone 30th Anniversary Special #1.
• David Brooke reviews the fruitful variety of DC’s Legion of Bloom #1.
• Lukas Shayo reviews the forgettable moments of Tom Taylor, Ivan Reis, et al’s Batman – One Bad Day: Ra's al Ghul #1.
• Avery Kaplan reviews the smart discourse of Archie Bongiovanni’s Mimosa.
• Bryan Reheil reviews the bittersweet enjoyments of Nick Roche, E.J. Su, et al’s Last Bot Standing.
• Arpad Okay reviews the dark magic of Kusahara Umi’s Mothers, translated by Jocelyne Allen.
Andy Oliver has reviews of:
- The subversive horror of Joy San’s Sugar & Other Stories.
- The compelling characterisation of Ed Firth’s Horny & High Volume 2.
- The deft experimentation of Fantagraphics’ Now #12.
From Cover to Cover
Scott Cederlund reviews the quiet tension of Tatsuki Fujimoto’s Look Back, translated by Amanda Haley.
• Robbie Pleasant reviews the strong start of Christopher Priest, Carlo Pagulayan, et al’s Superman: Lost #1.
• Gregory Ellner reviews the incomprehensible opening to Greg Rucka, Eric Trautmann, Mike Henderson, et al’s The Forged #1.
• Ramon Piña reviews the peaceful longing of Andi Watson and Simon Gane’s Sunburn.
• Jaina Hill reviews the spectacular art of Fred Kennedy and Nick Marinkovich’s Dead Romans #1.
Steven Heller reviews the lively tapestry of Helene Stapinski and Bonnie Siegler’s The American Way: A True Story of Nazi Escape, Superman and Marilyn Monroe.
Have reviews of:
- The idiosyncratic wit of Benji Nate’s Girl Juice.
- The charming horror of Joy San’s Sugar & Other Stories.
- The gripping dread of Mike Birchall’s Everything Is Fine.
- The refreshing romance of Mari Costa’s Belle of the Ball.
- The vibrant fantasy of Humanoids’ Pixies of the Sixties: You Really Got Me Now, translated by Marc Bourbon-Crook.
- The heartfelt emotions of Arnold Arre’s The Children of Bathala: A Mythology Class Reunion, and the explosive action of Arre’s The World of Andong Agimat: The Mystery of the Talisman.
Love Missile Hooligans. pic.twitter.com/yzPEBQkOHX
— Jesse Lonergan @ home 😵💫 (@jesselonergans) March 16, 2023
This week’s interviews.
• Esther Claudio-Moreno interviews Ana Penyas about Estamos Todas Bien [We’re All Just Fine], centering activism in your work, and the use of photography in making comics - “In fact, that’s the way I learn. I appreciate the big, grandiose stories or topics, but I learn more through the small moments, the everyday. Obviously, drawing makes you be very observant, and I can’t help but pay attention to the little gestures or aspects that might go unnoticed on a normal day. But apart from paying attention to details, I’m interested in how small stories speak to the greater picture.”
• Zach Rabiroff interviews MyComicShop.com’s Buddy Saunders about fanzine origins, online retail as a family business, and the ambience of a successful store - “Well, some people buy from us because we give a pretty good discount. You know, on the internet you have to discount. I do not like discounting: I can remember the old discount wars that hurt everybody, because idiots did that kind of stuff.”
David Brooke speaks with Ted Adams about The Great Gatsby: The Essential Graphic Novel Adaptation, and the process of adapting literary classics.
Hayden Mears talks to Jeff Lemire about Essex County, the process of adapting the book for screen, and the creative allure of the immediacy of comics.
Eric Volmers chats with Todd McFarlane about Spawn, working with the Osbournes, and making it big in the toy business.
Brigid Alverson speaks with Adam Brooks about Boris Karloff’s Gold Key Mysteries, the return of Gold Key in a new form, and publishing plans.
• Elias Rosner interviews Michelle Lam about Meesh the Bad Demon, staking your place in the world of Instagram comics, and mixing comics work and animation work.
• Kyle Welch speaks with Curt Pires about Indigo Children, the pseudoscience behind the story, and using your talents to the best of your abilities.
Amy Ratcliffe talks to James F. Wright about Lupina, the team collaboration behind the comic, and plotting out time jumps.
The New Yorker
Françoise Mouly and Genevieve Bormes chat with Sammy Harkham about Blood of the Virgin, the 14 year quest to complete the comic, and the differences between comics and cinema.
Joan Dark speaks with Rosemary Valero-O’Connell about Golden Record, artistic influences, thoughts on religion, and changing priorities as a cartoonist.
Greg Toppo interviews Adam Bessie about Going Remote: A Teacher’s Journey, interacting with pupils during the pandemic, and returning to in-person classrooms.
The Internal Affairs Digital Comics Collection is now available again on itch, and guess what it's now PWYW priced!https://t.co/xb8sQgfidP pic.twitter.com/wT7AxFExGJ
— P.E.O.W. (@peowstudio) March 22, 2023
This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, winter reportage from Europe continues, as Bill Kartalopoulos’ odyssey across the continent heads to Paris and Angoulême - “I felt that lightning had struck when we entered La Tartine, a cozy, lived-in spot where we joked around with the manager and patrons sang along to songs from his playlist. Only afterwards did I learn that the place had once been a haunt of Leon Trotsky and James Joyce.”
• Also for TCJ, and also reporting from Angoulême, before heading to Marseille, Marc Tessier visits exhibitions dedicated to the work of Julie Doucet and Henriette Valium, with extensive photography of both - “I wanted to document both the Doucet and Valium exhibitions. In Quebec, the general public is slowly catching up to Doucet and Valium, who first had recognition on the outside. Photographing these events helps people understand the huge impact these artists have had on an international community of artists.”
• Finally for TCJ this week, Tegan O’Neil writes in celebration (and interrogation) of the work of Lee Weeks, looking back to Weeks’ pivotal early collaboration with Al Williamson, and on through a storied career - “The guiding question going forward: why don’t we talk more directly about the careers of artists in the same way we do writers? And by we I mean me, but I do also mean a tendency of the critical profession in general. I’ll tell you why: it’s not actually that easy to write about art! It’s a difficult thing to do, and do well. And the line between well and not well just ain’t as wide as you want it to be, this being a very niche field in a deep recession.”
• For The Gutter Review, Sam Moore writes on Kazuo Umezz’s The Drifting Classroom, and the violent loss of innocence suffered by the ensemble cast of children found therein.
• Shelfdust’s From Dust to Dust series continues, as Steve Morris diagnoses the comic book overload of Dark Horse’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, while William Moo looks back on volume 2 of Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto and its expanding cast and deepening murder conspiracies.
• Over at Solrad, Ayla Marsden writes on Kyoko Okazaki’s Helter Skelter, liberation of women through horror and abjection, and the loneliness of the women writer.
• For ICv2, Rob Salkowitz considers the place of comics endeavours in relation to the ongoing bursting of the most recent tech bubble, further exacerbated by Silicon Valley Bank’s recent collapse, as newly launching comic apps such as GlobalComix and K Manga seek to buck the trend.
• From the world of open-access academia, originally published in 2013 as part of Superman and Philosophy: What Would the Man of Steel Do?, Audrey Anton shares an essay on the moral responsibility of the last son of Krypton, and how much one can reasonably expect of Clark Kent.
• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, as separation of Church and State seems like more of a suggestion, and woke thinking is apparently a trigger of banking collapse.
— ᴄᴀʟᴜᴍ ᴀʟᴇxᴀɴᴅᴇʀ ᴡᴀᴛᴛ (@CalumAWatt) March 21, 2023
This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Ben Katchor hosted the latest edition of the New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium, as Jesse McManus spoke on artistic progress and influences, iconic figures of cartooning, personal eras, and the creative abilities of worms.
• Drawn & Quarterly presented a new episode of At Home With, as Nick Maandag celebrated the launch of Harvey Knight's Odyssey, sharing the origins of the story, and a brief tour of comic book influences.
• Brian Hibbs convened March’s meeting of the Comix Experience Graphic Novel of the Month Kids’ Club, speaking with Dan Santat about A First Time For Everything, and making the jump from animation to illustration and comics.
• Gil Roth welcomed Timothy Goodman to this week’s edition of The Virtual Memories Show, as they spoke about I Always Think It’s Forever: A Love Story Set in Paris As Told By An Unreliable But Earnest Narrator, basketball favourites, and the importance of the humble Sharpie.
• Another week of Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor took a little look at Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee’s work on Batman, Kirkman and Walker’s Invincible, and a little R. Crumb interview from 2022, before speaking with Peter Chung about Æon Flux.
• David Harper chatted with Steve Anderson of Third Eye Comics for this week’s Off Panel, as they discussed the realities of managing a chain of stores, comics retail in 2023, and what’s working/what isn’t working in the market.
• Calvin Reid and Meg Lemke sat down for the latest edition of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, speaking about recent graphic novels Impossible People: A Completely Average Recovery Story by Julia Wertz, and Esther’s Notebooks by Riad Sattouf.
The lottery for exhibitor tables to SPX 2023 is now open: https://t.co/Ghb9iRMUKi pic.twitter.com/yaMFPutTXL
— SMALL PRESS EXPO (@SPXcomics) March 21, 2023
That’s all for this week, now to spend seven days screaming into a pillow before the next lot comes around.
— Bolzak (escroto) |COMMISSIONS OPEN| (@0Bolzak0) March 8, 2023