We are slap-bang in the middle of fall’s convention season, operating in a hybrid fashion with virtual and in-person eventing, the latter mostly taking place in a reduced capacity, so the atmosphere surrounding it all is slightly strange for the second year running.
Just how successful the in-person eventing side of the deal will be remains to be seen, as attendee trepidation exists alongside the return of Old Man Winter, and his drinking buddy Seasonal Flu, heading out to meet new friend COVID-19, who’s been propping up the bar for 20 months now.
Before that metaphor can be stretched any further past its breaking point, let’s head onwards to this week’s links, a selection of which can be found below.
— Woodrow White (@woodrowwhite) September 30, 2021
Torn from today’s headlines… This week’s news.
• Starting this week with a bumper crop of comics prize news, as Cartoon Crossroads Columbus issued this year’s inaugural Tom Spurgeon Award, for services to the medium of comics by a non-cartoonist, to three posthumous recipients - Mollie Slott, Orrin Evans, and Kim Thompson. Rounding out the rest of 2021’s CXC prizes, the Master Cartoonist Award was presented to Shary Flenniken, the Transformative Work Award to Alison Bechdel for Fun Home, and Robyn Smith took home this year’s Emerging Talent Award.
• Across the pond, the Association des Critiques et Journalistes de Bande Dessinée selected Simon Spurrier and Matias Bergara’s Coda Omnibus, adapted in French by Philippe Toboul, as this year’s Prix Comics de la Critique ACBD - this is the third year the organisation has run a prize specifically focused on “a comic strip from a country of Anglo-Saxon culture and adapted in French by a French-speaking publisher”.
• The Harvey Awards have announced this year’s inductees into its Hall of Fame, with honours being given to Rumiko Takahashi, Bernie Wrightson, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Michael Kaluta, in 2021’s class. This year’s full prize ceremony takes place today, as part of New York Comic Con.
• Rounding out this week’s awards cavalcade, finalists were announced for 2021’s National Book Awards, with Shing Yin Khor’s The Legend of Auntie Po in the running for the Young People’s Literature Award, with winners to be announced on November 17th via virtual ceremony.
• Festival Québec BD announced a call for applicants to four seasonal comic book residencies, aimed at authors from outside of Canada, currently residing in cities that are members of the UNESCO Literary Cities Network - applications close October 25th 2021.
• Elsewhere in The North, the Canada Post have revealed a series of stamps paying tribute to five of the nation’s greatest editorial cartoonists, including Brian Gable, Terry Mosher, Duncan Macpherson, Bruce MacKinnon, and Serge Chapleau - the issue of the stamps will be available from today.
• The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund announced that Amy Chu, Joseph Illidge, and Pam Noles have joined its board of directors - these new members arriving in the wake of various departures following former executive director Charles Brownstein’s resignation from the organisation after allegations of sexual assault came back to light last year.
• Just missing the end of Banned Books Week, Texas’ Katy Independent School District postponed a speaking engagement with cartoonist Jerry Craft this week, and placed his books under review, after parents alleged that the books promote “critical race theory in the form of teaching children that their white privilege inherently comes with microaggressions which must be kept in check,” which one presumes they view as undesirable content for young minds.
• Elsewhere in Texas, the Spring Brach Independent School District made the decision to ban Cathy G. Johnson's The Breakaways from school libraries, due to a parental complaint that the soccer-focused book features a transgender character - the Houston Chronicle notes that this banning comes at a time when the Texas Legislature "again is considering a bill that would bar transgender student athletes from competing on teams that align with their gender identity."
• The Daily Cartoonist flags up the 90th birthday of Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy, as the legendary law enforcement officer, and his iconic rogues’ gallery of villains approach a century of crime-fighting/crime-causing.
• Finally this week, various outlets reported on the death of controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who had been under police protection since 2007 following his publishing of a sketch cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad - Vilks was killed in a traffic collision after the civilian police car in which he was travelling was hit by a truck - the incident showed no indication of criminal intent, police have reported.
— Simon Gane (@Simongane) October 7, 2021
Explain it to me like you would a 5 year old… This week’s reviews.
Aug Stone reviews the perfect feelings of Jordi Lafebre’s Always Never, translated by Montana Kane - “The cover alone gives a great indication of all that goes into the book with Ana and Zeno arm in arm under an umbrella walking through a wet city square with their eyes dreamily cast to the sky while the lower half of the scene is expertly reflected in a giant puddle. There are plenty of times along the way one stops to marvel at the composition of the illustrations - a doctor’s face within the sheets, Ana crossing the bridge, and Ana and Zeno synchronizing playing their records.”
• David Brooke reviews the chilling mystery of Dan Watters, Dani, et al’s Arkham City: The Order of the World #1.
• Madeleine Chan reviews the frank depths of Mirion Malle’s This Is How I Disappear, translated by Aleshia Jensen and Bronwyn Haslam.
• Alex Curtis reviews the overwhelming mess of Marcus Parks, Henry Zebrowski, Ben Kissel, John McCrea, et al’s Soul Plumber #1.
• Alex McDonald reviews the varied frights of Ahoy Comics’ Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Death #1.
• Rory Wilding reviews the compelling scares of Michael Walsh et al’s The Silver Coin Volume 1.
• Ronnie Gorham reviews the compelling silence of Rick Remender and André Lima Araújo’s A Righteous Thirst For Vengeance #1.
• Vishal Gullapalli reviews the exciting dynamism of Al Ewing, Valerio Schiti, et al’s S.W.O.R.D. Volume 1.
• Alex Cline reviews the charming misunderstandings of Wataru Hinekure’s My Love Mix-Up! Volume 1.
Avery Kaplan reviews the excellent aesthetic of David Pinckney, Ennun Ana Iurov, et al’s Needle & Thread.
• Lindsay Pereira reviews the intriguing ambiguity of Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber’s Library.
• Andy Oliver reviews the canny exploration of Zorika Gaeta’s Where No One Goes, Volume1 1-3.
Rob Salkowitz reviews the indispensable details of Douglas Wolk's All of the Marvels.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan C reviews the dense hilarity of Gerald Jablonski’s Cryptic Wit #4, the emotive humour of Rachelle Meyer’s Texas Tracts, and the authentic weirdness of Bryce Martin’s The Onaut.
The Los Angeles Review of Books
Jack Chelgren reviews the sensitive nihilism of Simon Hanselmann’s Crisis Zone.
• Matthew Blair reviews the unsettling horror of Peter Milligan, Sally Cantirino, et al’s Human Remains #1.
• Gregory Ellner reviews the promising beginning of Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, et al’s We Have Demons #1.
• Joe Skonce reviews the fantastic finale to IDW’s Star Trek Year Five #25.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The sordid violence of Ed Piskor’s Red Room: The Antisocial Network.
- The gory twists of Sebastian Girner, John Bivens, et al’s The Devil’s Red Bride.
- The shallow exposition of Fernando Dagnino’s Smart Girl.
- The haunting parable of Brigitte Archambault’s The Shiatsung Project, translated by Aleshia Jensen.
- The gripping creepiness of Daniel Kraus, Chris Shehan, et al’s The Autumnal.
- The nostalgic action of Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, et al’s Destroy All Monsters: A Reckless Book.
• Rob Clough reviews the subtle commentary of Ben Towle’s Four-Fisted Tales: Animals in Combat.
• Charles Hatfield reviews the excellent realism of Whit Taylor and Kazimir Lee’s Harriet Tubman: Toward Freedom.
Women Write About Comics
• Lisa Fernandes reviews the dragging beauty of Chip Zdarsky, Mark Bagley, et al’s Spider-Man Life Story Annual #1.
• Adrienne Resha reviews the digital drag of Keryl Brown Ahmed, Siobhan, et al’s Big Ethel Energy #1-3.
• Amy Garvey reviews the lovely details of Rachelle Meyer’s Holy Diver.
— ????????????????????????????????????????SHOP OPEN (@Aquiboni) October 6, 2021
Virtual speaking engagements… This week’s interviews.
Eszter Szép interviews Lina Ghaibeh, the director of the The Mu’taz & Rada Sawwaf Arab Comics Initiative, and professor of the American University of Beirut, about realities of life in Lebanon at the moment, bringing hope with public events, and the nostalgia inherent in comics - “The history of [Arab] comics dates back to the late 1800s. This was primarily editorial cartooning for adults, but then from the 1920s onward, and with the golden age in the 1950s and 60s, it was primarily children’s comics such as Sindiband, Sameer, Ali Baba etc.. This shift created a whole industry of magazine publications. A lot was happening in the 60s! After this came the monopoly of translated superhero comics, like Superman, Batman, The Flash, and Disney – and comics from Europe, like Spirou, Asterix, Tintin, Lucky Luke, all of which dominated the market. In the late 70s and early 80s there was a revival to go back to local talents and localized content about issues of the region.
• David Brooke talks to Dan Watters about Arkham City: The Order of the World, history with Gotham, connecting with readers, and psychology research.
• Chris Coplan speaks with Tyrone Finch about Swine, differences between writing for comics and writing for television, and biblical pigs.
• Alex McDonald chats with Mark Russell about The Monster Serials, storytelling freedom through goofiness, cold cereal, and spooky recommendations.
• Sara L. Jewell interviews Noelle Stevenson about Substack, vulnerability with personal comics, and embracing chaos.
• Dean Simons speaks with Ray Fawkes about One Line, looking back at comics borne out of a period of despair, interlinking poetic narratives, and chasing a feeling of experimentation.
• Avery Kaplan talks to Maureen Fergus and Alexandra Bye about Weenie featuring Frank & Beans Volume One: Mad About Meatloaf, the hilarity of Dachshunds, canine inspirations, and speaking directly to the reader.
• Joe Grunenwald chats with:
- Stephanie Phillips about Harley Quinn, DC comics details, pandemic projects, and the hubris of those in their 20s.
- Jamie L. Rotante about Chilling Adventures in Sorcery, anthology editing mindsets, horror influences, and avoiding jump scares.
- Mark Russell about Deadbox and Not All Robots, personal stories and movie history, metaphors for toxic masculinity, and the superhero gig economy.
Andy Oliver interviews Hannah Carwardine about The Keeper of the Curiosity Shop, interactive comics, admiration for limited colour palettes, and lockdown challenges.
Presents a conversation with ReedPop’s Vice President Mike Armstrong on brand synergy and shifting focus, 18 months without live events, and embracing digital markets.
Brian Salvatore continues a look back at ten years since the New 52 hit stands, interviewing Moritat about All-Star Western, hat drawing abilities, Geoff Johns interference, and storytelling (or lack thereof) exhaustion.
Tasha Robinson talks to Noelle Stevenson about the pros and cons of Substack, the allure of less-visbile social media platforms, and selecting topics to make comics about.
Shaenon Garrity interviews Matt Madden about Ex Libris (an excerpt from which can be found here this week at TCJ), DIY cartooning history, teaching comics, and Angoulême résidences.
Alex Dueben talks to Brian Michael Bendis about Joy Operations, Jinxworld moves, collaborative processes, DC editorial mandates, and working with Dark Horse.
The Washington Post
Michael Cavna speaks with Emma Allen, and various contributors and editorial staff from The New Yorker about Allen’s role as the magazine’s humor and cartoon editor, diversifying the voices published, and keeping things funny.
Women Write About Comics
Wendy Browne interviews Helen Mullane, Kev Sherry, and Katia Vecchio about Painted, folklore of the British Isles, shared universes, and collaborative connections.
6"x9" Guts and Swamp Thing pic.twitter.com/vKXrI8C1TI
— James Stokoe (@HeGotGronch) October 6, 2021
Authors unknown… This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, celebrating 71 years of Peanuts, Jon Holt and Teppei Fukuda present a translation of Professor Natsume Fusanosuke’s 1999 essay on parallels between the strip and Fujiko F. Fujio’s Doraemon - “Life is nothing but “limitations” put on us by both ourselves and by the outside world. That is why we all feel such a close connection to those Peanuts characters. I say that, but of course, Snoopy occupies the same world but he gets to live the good life (a dog’s life), doing whatever he wants however he wants. Sometimes, he, too, might suffer some setbacks from this meaningless world, but, in the end, he always sees his food bowl and joyfully shouts, “Here IS the meaning in life!””
• Also for TCJ, Joe McCulloch has an obituary for Takao Saitō, creator of Golgo 13, who sadly passed away last month, covering Saitō’s work outside of his most enduring creation, as well as the history of Duke Togo - “Reading Golgo 13 is like developing an affinity for a certain type of liquor; I love these comics so very much, but they are very strange at first, because their narrative approach -- 6- or 7-panel pages dense with contextual dialogue, bursting every so often into collage-like depictions of minute physical activity, dotted with images obviously traced from photos and characters cycling through a set library of facial reactions -- has evolved by design from the manufactured processes Saitō devised in the 1960s: an evolution geared for efficiency, rather than contemporaneity.”
• Some further remembrances of Takao Saitō, elsewhere on the internet, as The Beat has a profile of the revered mangaka from Dean Simmons, while Ben Dooley and Hisako Ueno look back on Saitō’s life and legacy for The New York Times.
• Tegan O’Neil’s deep dive into the life and times of Marvel Comics’ Rogue continues at The Hurting, as part three of an unpacking of Uncanny Avengers’ gestalt adventures asks what happens when you throw the superhero baby out with the superhero bathwater?
• Writing for Forbes, Rebecca Ann Hughes covers the addition of a selection of self-portraits from Italian comics artists to the Uffizi Gallery, bringing them alongside classics from the world of high aht.
• For ICv2, Milton Griepp breaks down the end of 25 years of a functional monopoly from Diamond Distribution, and how the new contenders for the throne shape up in the Direct Market space, after some partnerships got off to a less than auspicious start.
• Over at NeoText, Chloe Maveal writes on the history of Warren Publishing’s Eerie and Creepy, and the escape of horror comics from the boundaries of the Comics Code Authority, before unveiling the newly crowned NeoText Reviews with a celebration of Basil Gogos, while RM Rhodes explore the confused body-horror of Bruce Jones and Bernie Wrightson’s Freak Show.
• Also covering some Comics Code Authority history, for Multiversity Comics, Drew Bradley looks back at the origins of the CCA, as 1954 hears society cry “won’t somebody think of the children!?”.
• Over at Women Write About Comics, Kat Overland looks at Webtoon titles that those dipping their toes into the digital comics water, following the release of DC’s Wayne Family Adventures, may enjoy sampling, while surfing the web.
• Shelfdust’s Field Theory series continues, as Andrea Ayres looks at a Garfield strip from 1991, and the titular orange cat’s eschewing of family values, while Steve Morris litigates the enjoyable chaos brought to the world of the X-Men by Chuck Austen.
• It must be Garfield season, which would probably please Jim Davis, as we approach the 45th birthday of his creation, because Solrad also has an in-depth look at the lasagna-loving feline, provided by Hagai Palevsky, and the various mythological and theological ideals found in his various misadventures.
• 1993. The Direct Market crash looms. However, for Wolverine, it is business time.
• Mike Peterson rounded up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as the ills of social media were in the spotlight, the fragile nature of food chains was considered, tax evasion remains an international sport, the ills of social media remained in the spotlight, and parents insisted on acting like children.
Cable, done in honor of #pouchtober! I can't participate in full, so I figured I'd have to make this one count. ????????????????????️ pic.twitter.com/D21hVGfb4x
— Tom Reilly (@tomreillyart) October 6, 2021
Shortening attention spans at a rate of knots… This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Kicking of this week with a selection of virtual book launches, as a quiet end to summer gives way to a busy pre-Holidays period, and Eric Reynolds was in-conversation with Kikuo Johnson about No One Else, Drawn & Quarterly hosted a double bill of instagram launches for Mirion Malle’s This Is How I Disappear and Theo Ellsworth and Jeff VanderMeer’s Secret Life, and The New York Public Library hosted Lauren Redniss in-conversation with Dash Shaw about Discipline (the talk proper begins at 6m30s).
• Another triple header week for Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Jim Rugg, Tom Scioli, and Ed Piskor took a look at Watchmen#9, Neil Gaiman and friends’ Green Lantern/Superman: Legend of the Green Flame, Frank Frazetta: Book Two, and J. Scott Campbell’s Danger Girl #1, before Jim Rugg spoke one-on-one with Sean Michael Robinson about digital file preparation for comics-making, and the team reconvened to interview Klaus Janson.
• A selection of trips up in the Word Balloon from the past week, as John Siuntres spoke with Scott Snyder about recent digital deals, JM DeMatteis about comics work for the Big Two, Brian Michael Bendis about Jinxworld moves, and Gamal Hennessy about Marvel Comics’ recent trademark litigation.
• Dan Berry invited Lauren Weinstein to Make It Then Tell Everybody this week, as they spoke about The Gift of Time, digital comics making, and just making a page.
• David Brothers hosted this week’s episode of Mangasplaining, as the team celebrated Akiko Higashimura’s Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist’s Journey, and spoke about arts education and working in art.
• David Harper was joined by Matthew Rosenberg for this week’s Off Panel, as they spoke about What's the Furthest Place from Here?, being in-demand, collaborative processes, and special editions.
• Calvin Reid and Meg Lemke convened this week’s edition of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come’s Stargazing (say it six times quickly), as they spoke about a couple of books that have been generating buzz recently - Lee Lai’s Stone Fruit; and Jordan Morris, Sarah Morgan, and Tony Cliff’s Bubble.
• Sent in to This Week's mailbag, by host Tim Young, Deconstructing Comics' recent podcast output features include deep dives into Naoki Urasawa's Pluto, and Rachelle Meyer's Texas Tracts, with a rotating cast of contributors.
— peach MoMoKo 桃桃子 (@peachmomoko60) October 7, 2021
We’ve reached the end, once more, but this is au revoir, and not a final goodbye, worry not.
Yesterday’s #inktober featuring the disembodied voices of @mariskreizman and @TriciaLockwood (I’m a big fan of both and highly recommend the Maris Review and Lockwood’s Priestdaddy, but I haven’t yet read her new book that they discussed. It’s on my “important reads” list tho!) pic.twitter.com/e1f1DU9Yei
— Julia Wertz (@Julia_Wertz) October 7, 2021