With the return of in-person events, in-person award shows, and comment section drama spilling into social media doing what it does best/worst, you’d be forgiven for thinking that maybe nature is healing? But even with the classics back in play this is still the age of pandemics, fire and floods, AI art generation, and, ew, the metaverse. A good time to be in the pinching the bridge of your nose and slowly exhaling your entire spirit out of your body business. However, always remember that even the hate-clicks count towards those all-important site metrics, baby. On that note, links are below.
conflux of the omnifariant pic.twitter.com/185bkkgXxf
— sloane (@sloanesloane) September 14, 2022
This week’s news.
• Starting this week off with a bumper crop of comics prize news, as the winners of this year’s Ignatz Awards were announced at SPX, with celebratory bricks given to Xulia Vicente’s I See A Knight for Outstanding Comic, R. Kikuo Johnson’s No One Else for Outstanding Graphic Novel, and Reimena Yee’s Alexander, The Servant, & The Water of Life for Outstanding Artist - Multiversity Comics rounds up all this year’s winners here.
• The same weekend also saw the announcement of the National Cartoonists Society’s 76th annual Reuben Awards, with Edward Sorel named Cartoonist of the Year, chosen by secret ballot of NCS members - full divisional winners from this year’s awards can be found here.
• Continuing recent awards news, L’Association des Critiques et Journalistes de Bande Dessinée announced that Barry Windsor-Smith’s Monsters is the winner of this year’s Critics’ Comics Prize, awarded to a comic strip from an English-speaking country and adapted into French by a French-speaking publisher, with the award to be presented at October’s Quai des Bulles festival in Saint-Malo.
• Closing out the week’s award cavalcade, The Beat shares the announcement that Dawud Anyabwile, Derrick Barnes, and Tommie Smith’s Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist For Justice; and Johnnie Christmas’ Swim Team have been nominated in the National Book Awards longlists, winners TBA in November.
• As 2022 nears the 75% complete mark, the American Library Association is registering record numbers of book challenges, this year’s figures already approaching those seen for 2021 as a whole, with the last school year having also registered a marked uptick in book bans according to Pen America - authors and librarians are being harassed, baselessly accused of pedophilia and grooming children, as conservative groups mobilise in attempts to censor literature - Banned Books Week closes out tomorrow, with resources available here.
• Alleged details of the contracts creators sign onto with digital platform Webtoon were shared on social media this week, from anonymous accounts since deleted, regarding individual episode fees, the realities of net payments after minimum revenue thresholds are met, and apparent disparities in payments between regions - Webtoon’s rapid expansion has been promoted with various PR pieces regarding the amounts paid out to creators, but these cherry-pick the rates for the most popular series on the platform.
• The theft of a large number of valuable comics from Falls Church’s Victory Comics, in an apparent targeted smash and grab, was reported this week, with a selection of vintage comics worth an estimated $100,00 taken - a cash reward is being offered for any information pertaining to the stolen items.
• Dark Horse Comics announced that they will be moving their comics distribution from Diamond after almost three decades, signing up with Penguin Random House from June 2023 - Dark Horse also shared this week that Eric Powell’s The Goon will be returning to its line of titles, joining Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo back at DH, while PRH is awaiting final ruling on the DOJ antitrust suit filed against its proposed merger with Simon & Schuster.
• Koyama Provides announced the latest recipient of their grant program, awarding $1,500 to Keren Katz, which will be used towards an upcoming collaboration with photographer Lilach Raz.
• The Book Industry Charity Foundation shared financial aid resources for comic shop owners and staff in Puerto Rico, and all of the U.S. Territories, who may have been impacted by Hurricane Fiona - Binc is also currently offering two scholarships to comic shop owners and staff to attend next month’s Diamond Summit.
A Batman for #BatmanDay pic.twitter.com/LxygxTeF9t
— Jonathan Edwards (@Jontofski) September 17, 2022
This week’s reviews.
• Lane Yates reviews the uninspiring dullness of Jordan Crane’s Keeping Two - “The most clever gesture is the intermixing of fantasy and reality, but it sacrifices bold notions by clearly articulating which is which. It seems like the book relies on the reader being flippant enough with their eyes to not notice that the wavy borders are fantasy or flashback and the firm ones are capital R reality.”
• Irene Velentzas reviews the delightful elegance of Jeff Smith’s TUKI: Fight for Family - “Smith’s tools may be humble–paper, pen, ink, brush–but he wields them like the unrivalled craftsman he is. This story, told in landscape, uses the page orientation to communicate an expansive environment and epic story. Smith’s iconic black and white linework possesses an unparalleled degree of precision and deliberation, which he uses to usher the story forward through a high contrast visual world, firmly holding the reader’s eye in place.”
• David Brooke reviews the unique frights of Chris Burnham, Paul Dini, Steve Langford, and John McCrea’s Creepshow #1.
• Rory Wilding reviews the kinetic aesthetic of Dan Watters, Lamar Mathurin, et al’s Cowboy Bebop: Supernova Swing.
• Colin Moon reviews the honest insights of Antoine Maillard’s Slash Them All, translated by Jenna Allen.
• Chandler Poling reviews the skilful noir of Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido’s Blacksad: They All Fall Down - Part One, translated by Dana Schutz and Brandon Kander
• Hayden Mears reviews the triumphant deviations of Alex Ross’ Fantastic Four: Full Circle.
• Harrison Stewart reviews the satisfying deconstructionism of Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, et al’s Vanish #1.
• Clyde Hall reviews the uneven horror of R.L. Stine, A.L. Kaplan, et al’s Stuff of Nightmares #1.
• Zack Quaintance reviews the heartfelt lessons of Tri Vuong, Irma Kniivila, et al's Everyday Hero Machine Boy.
• Cy Beltran reviews the gory hilarity of Leah Williams, Carlos Gomez, et al’s X-Terminators #1.
• Cori McCreery reviews the varied celebrations of DC’s Harley Quinn: 30th Anniversary Special #1.
• Lindsay Pereira reviews the enjoyable looseness of Guy Delisle’s World Record Holders.
• Andy Oliver reviews the violent brilliance of Massimo Mattioli’s Squeak the Mouse; the chilling contrasts of Tony Fleecs, Trish Forstner, et al’s Stray Dogs; and the engaging focus of Cy’s Radium Girls.
Four Color Apocalypse
Ryan C reviews the impressive construction of Erik Jasek’s The UFO Bros #1.
From Cover to Cover
Scott Cederlund reviews the nuanced layers of Chip Zdarsky and Jacob Phillips' Newburn Volume 1.
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien reviews the family-friendly silliness of Mohale Mashigo, David Cutler, Marika Cresta, et al’s X-Men & Moon Girl #1; and the straightforward product-placement of Jody Houser, Marco Itri, et al’s Wolverine: Journey of Time #1.
• Kobi Bordoley reviews the enjoyable adventure of Florentino Florez, Guillermo Sanna, Jacques Salomon, et al’s Lovecraft Unknown Kadath #1.
• Robbie Pleasant reviews the perfect entertainment of Ryan North, Chris Fenoglio, et al’s Star Trek: Lower Decks #1.
Notable Graphic Novels Review
• James Sobczak reviews the wonderful transformations of Matt Madden’s Ex Libris.
• Dan McClure reviews the accessible complexity of Thomas King and Natasha Donovan’s Borders.
• Nicole Lovenjak reviews the distinctive appeal of Shing Yin Khor’s The Legend of Auntie Po.
• Salima Appiah-Duffell reviews the refreshing focus of Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martínez’ Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts.
• Rebekah Scoggins Boulton reviews the striking poignancy of Margaret Kimball’s And Now I Spill the Family Secrets: An Illustrated Memoir.
Etelka Lehoczky reviews the intertwining themes of Kate Beaton’s Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The comprehensive collection of Geneviève Castrée: Complete Works, 1981-2016, edited by Phil Elverum, translated by Phil Elverum and Aleshia Jensen.
- The unflinching insights of Tommi Parrish’s Men I Trust.
- The empowering explorations of Claribel A. Ortega and Rose Bousamra’s Frizzy.
- The uplifting portrayals of Gale Galligan’s Freestyle.
Women Write About Comics
• Masha Zhdanova reviews the atmospheric romance of Nagabe’s Monotone Blue, translated by Adrienne Beck.
• Paulina Przystupa reviews the bewitching impact of Tatsuki Fujimoto’s Look Back, translated by Amanda Haley.
— Ellis Rosen (@EllisRosen) September 19, 2022
This week’s interviews.
Ian Thomas interviews Janet Biehl about Their Blood Got Mixed: Revolutionary Rojava and the War on ISIS, history with the Kurdish freedom movement, the daily practice of comics, and the accessibility of graphical storytelling - “Democracy turned out to be more fragile than I had realized - when you have it, I now understood, you have to protect and defend it, because too many powerful and aggressive people would rather have autocracy.”
Chris Coplan talks to Chuck Brown about Flawed and speaking with therapists for inspiration, to Dan Jurgens about Lord of the Jungle and making Tarzan accessible for a new generation of readers, and to Declan Shalvey about Old Dog and the creative space that spy stories give you to play in.
Zack Quaintance speaks with Brian Michael Bendis and André Lima Araújo about Phenomena Book One: The Golden City of Eyes, bringing everything together all at once, and marrying story and style.
The Chicago Reader
Megan Kirby chats with Michael DeForge about Birds of Maine, alternate technological developments and fungal computing, escaping human conflict to focus on the interpersonal, and favourite avians.
Josh Weiss interviews David Dastmalchian about Count Crowley, the horror of misinformation, the media revolution of the 80s, and crossovers.
• Jim McLauchlin talks to Black Star Collectibles’ Feon Cooper about focusing on Black pop culture, using social media to your advantage, location scouting, and selecting your retail product mix.
• Milton Griepp speaks with Universal Distribution’s Angelo Exarhakos about the company’s history, coming on board with DC in Canada’s hybrid retail landscape, and the Canadian scene in general.
• Elias Rosner presents the second part of an interview with Melanie Gillman about Other Ever Afters, the appeal of darkness in fairy tales, the importance of narrative intent, and the appeal of coloured pencils.
• Paul Lai talks to Irma Kniivila and Tri Vuong about Everyday Hero Machine Boy, making a book fun, reining in the chaos, naturalistic cultural depictions of love through food.
Steven Heller speaks with Anthony Mostrom about The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, parallel interest in comics and journalism, and bootleg Phantom of the Opera comics.
Heidi MacDonald talks to Kate Beaton about Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands, the insidious nature of student debt, adjusting to comics fandom, and the condescending sexism endemic in the scene.
Alex Dueben interviews Mike Dawson about The Fifth Quarter series, finding a love for watching sports, representing family life in your work, and engaging younger readers with your work.
The Washington Post
Michael Cavna talks to Steve Brodner about Living & Dying in America: A Daily Chronicle 2020-2022, the initial inspiration for the project, and the story it tells of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Women Write About Comics
Emily Lauer speaks with Melanie Gillman about Other Ever Afters and focusing on the interior development of characters, and with Filipa Estrela about Meandering Realms: An Anthology of Unconventional Materials Comics and the challenge of recording three-dimensional works.
ZINE DREAM is this Saturday and Sunday @MOCAtoronto! Small Press, Zines, Comics, Multiples and more from over 40 exhibitors. Check https://t.co/uvaQCUjgOl for full list of exhibitors and programming! Poster by Lina Wu! pic.twitter.com/jHPzGr3A5v
— Patrick Kyle (@_patrickkyle) September 21, 2022
This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, Jason Bergman reports from SPX’s return to in-person programming, surveying organisers, attendees, and those who chose not to attend, to gauge the appetite for physical shows at a time when COVID is still present, but public messaging around the pandemic is changing - “[Warren Bernard:] I haven't looked at the figures yet. But [attendance] is a little bit lower. We're not Toronto, we're not Manhattan. There are two different measures [of success]. One measure says, how many people come through the door, and [the] other measure says, if you go and talk to, particularly the big exhibitors like Fantagraphics and Top Shelf, how are you doing? And they're doing fine.”
• Also for TCJ, Jon Holt and Teppei Fukuda present a translation of Natsume Fusanosuke’s essay on the early works of Urasawa Naoki, and the glimpse into Urasawa’s future endeavours that they provide - “Even though these all are short works, with the fate of being seen as his études as a manga artist, of course since this is Urasawa Naoki, they are a lot of fun as works of entertainment. Moreover, let me say—and this is very important—it is true that while Urasawa was at this time drawing these pieces, he was learning from Ōtomo how to do Ōtomo, but at the same time he was exploring a way to Urasawa-ize what he was doing too. I have no doubt about that.”
• For The New York Times, M.H. Miller visits southern France, to meet R. Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb, charting their move to the continent and R. Crumb’s place in the zeitgeist in 2022.
• Over at The Beat, cartoonist J. Gonzo writes on DC’s misguided (and quickly restructured) attempts to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, and ways to escape the reductive cultural lip-service that this embodied.
• Andy Oliver presents the second part of Broken Frontier’s report on how Brexit is affecting the revenue streams and output of comics creators and publishers, as the UK heads into a brutal cost of living crisis.
• Tasha Robinson speaks with queer comics creators to canvas their favourite queer indie comics, compiling a comprehensive reading list for Polygon.
• Holly Raymond concludes a trilogy of essays on Scott Summers, aka Cyclops, for Shelfdust, examining the lifting up of a powered gaze to self-actualise and step into the role of a leader of mutants.
• Over at 13th Dimension, Dan Greenfield shares Alan Brennert’s thoughts on originating the trope of the scarred back of Batman, and superheroes’ physical manifestations of trauma in general.
• From the world of open-access academia, writing in The International Journal of English Literature and Social Sciences, Abhay Shetty looks back on the political landscape that influenced the tone and content of Hergé’s Tintin comics.
• Mike Peterson rounds up the week’s editorial beat, over at The Daily Cartoonist, as Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral eventually concluded to allow coverage to return to the ubiquitous mid-term trail.
It's coming...@heyluchie with an explainer pic.twitter.com/2OfmOXKqxd
— ShortBox Comics Fair (@SBComicsFair) September 22, 2022
This week’s audio/visual delights.
• David Brothers hosts this week’s returning episode of Mangasplaining, as the team discuss ONE’s Mob Psycho 100, its webcomic origins, comedic timing, and the bad-good art style.
• David Harper welcomed Ryan Stegman to Off Panel for this week’s episode, as they discussed the launch of new Image series Vanish, working with editors, and the Substack effect.
• A double visit to Comix Experience, for this month’s Graphic Novel of the Month Club meetings, as Brian Hibbs was joined by Nick Dragotta and Caleb Goellner to speak about Ghost Cage and the art of building a page turn, and by Rosemary Mosco and Binglin Hu to discuss Expedition Backyard and building an interactive experience into the page.
• Calvin Reid moderates a roundtable discussion on Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts for Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come this week, as speakers Rebecca Hall, Saidiya Hartman, DeWanda Wise, and Tyler English-Beckwith discuss the graphic novel and its audioplay adaptation.
• A few trips up in the Word Balloon with John Siuntres, as guests included Rob Hart and Alex Segura speaking about Blood Oath, Joseph Illidge about current doings at Heavy Metal, and Jen Troy about Assassin G.
• Cartoonist Kayfabe closed out Michel Fiffe’s stint joining Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg, as pages were turned on Ann Nocenti and John Romita Jr’s Daredevil, Trevor Von Eeden and Lynn Varley on World’s Finest: Superman and Batman #287, Norm Breyfogle on Detective Comics #593, the high selling Venom: Lethal Protector #1, and Paul Pope’s THB #1, plus the Howard Chaykin interview from TCJ #109.
Feast your eyes on our GORGEOUS festival poster by MICE Special Guest @SaraAlfageeh! We're over the moon with how it came out and can't wait to see them all over Boston!
If you're local and want to volunteer for the street team to help us hang them up, give us a shout! pic.twitter.com/H8DTwMjB7x
— Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (@MassMICE) September 22, 2022
That’s all for this week, back again soon with more, always more.
22 Sep 2022 pic.twitter.com/RDiaX9UDF8
— actual heathcliff comics (@RealHeathcliffs) September 22, 2022