So Much Fun

Ah, welcome back from the long Memorial Day weekend. Joe McCulloch joins us with a guide to the Week in Comics. His spotlight picks this time include books by Shigeru Mizuki and Mary & Bryan Talbot.

These 144 pages concern Louise Michel, a Paris Commune activist deported to New Caledonia, where she embraced anarchism and supported an 1878 revolt by the indigenous Kanaks. As usual, I suspect these bookshop-ready items fly under the radar of Direct Market consumers -- the prominent positioning of Bryan Talbot in British SF/action comics history notwithstanding -- so be alert!

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary. For Comics Grid, Martin Lund takes an academic look at the the original 1960s appearance of the Black Panther character.

Only in 1965 were ‘incidental’ black characters seen [in Marvel comics]. Robbie Robertson, a minor recurring black character, entered [the[ Amazing Spider-Man cast in September 1967. Some comics took even longer: although X-Men is often hailed as an allegory of racial tolerance and Civil Rights struggles, the first black New Yorker in it appeared only five years in (#57, June 1969), while the series itself was still policing difference and advocating minority compromise with majority society; as Black Power grew stronger, so did X-Men’s backlash. Black Panther was cast into this white universe as Marvel’s first black superhero.

Sacha Mardou reviewed The Complete Wimmen's Comix for Comics Workbook.

Volume one is essentially my mother’s generation making those comics (I was born in ’75) which makes the lack of respect for cultural niceties and cartooning norms seem even more punk rock and revelatory, as well as being somewhat nostalgic. It reminds me of looking though my aunt’s closet in the early 1980’s and finding all her old platform shoes and boots. My childish trespassing got me yelled at after the event, but I’m glad to own that childhood memory of trying on and walking around in those beautiful and weird, too-big-for-me ‘space’ shoes.

Read more on Comics Workbook:

For Vice, Nick Gazin has posted a video listing what he believes are the ten best comics of all time, and has annoyed many people in the process:

—Interviews & Profiles.
Mike Mignola spoke to The Guardian about why he's ending Hellboy.

I’m painting and drawing. I think the drawing in the comic is fine, but none of the drawings get the kind of focus you would be doing if you were just doing a painting or a stand-alone drawing. Some part of me started saying, “You know, it’s been good that you’ve been able to do some stuff as a cartoonist writing and drawing your own stuff, but you always kind of wanted to be an artist.” And I just don’t think I’ve been doing artwork that’s up to what I could do if I focused all my energies on it.

For Broadly, Rachel Davies speaks to MariNaomi about her new book, Turning Japanese.

I set out to write a novel. I wrote it, but it was a lot shorter than I thought it would be. I'm pretty happy about it, I think it's an interesting concept. I sent it to my agent and he said he liked the concept and that it was good, but he asked me how I would feel about adding pictures!

The second guest on the new season of Comix Claptrap is Chester Brown.

Brown also appears on the new episode of Virtual Memories, along with Nina Bunjevac.

—News. The National Cartoonists Society's Reuben awards have been announced, with winners including Michael Ramirez, Dan Piraro, Ann Telnaes, and Drew Weing.

Finally, this whole Captain America thing has really been a clarifying moment. Could this be the stupidest comics controversy yet? Not that the people complaining don't have a certain point; it's true that the new storyline (Captain America is revealed as a secret member of the evil terrorist organization Hydra) trivializes real-world problems such as white supremacists and fascist paramilitary groups. But that criticism holds for any story featuring Hydra, regardless of whether or not Captain America is a secret member. And once you go that far, pretty much every colorfully costumed supervillain trivializes terroristic violence and every superhero is a travesty on vigilante justice and/or the police state. The genre is inherently messed up, politically speaking. So if you're a fully grown adult morally offended by this latest plot twist, maybe it's time to give up superhero comics -- or at least broaden the critique?