Society Made Me What I Am – This Week’s Links

Well, after a fractious few weeks, the dust has finally settled, and the nation can begin to heal again. I’m talking, of course, about the Peanuts specials returning to CBS, after people complained to Apple Inc., regarding their sequestering of the animations on a proprietary streaming platform, that (presumably) a few people pay to own?

A true holiday miracle, so, in that spirit of togetherness, please find this week’s links, below.



Stop the Planet of the Apes, I want to get off… This week’s news.

• A couple of competition stories to start off the week, as 2000 AD announced the winners of this year’s art and writing talent searches that took place as part of 2020’s virtual Thought Bubble festival last weekend, with writer Paul Starkey chosen by a judging panel to have their script appear in a future edition of the comic and artist James Newell taking home the gold with their interpretation of a Chris Burnham script. As the galaxy’s greatest comic’s editor would say, ghafflebette work, krill tro Thargo.

• In competitions you can enter news, 2020’s International Comic/Manga School Contest is now open, with a submission deadline of 29th April 2021, and cash prizes up for grabs - entries need to be associated with a registered school, signed up by a teacher at the relevant institute, and guest judges of this year’s prizes include Charlie Adlard and Simone Ferriero.

• Auction news makes its triumphant return to This Week’s Links, just in time for the holidays, as SYFY Wire covers a king’s ransom of Batman comics going up on the block, that almost didn’t make it to the block thanks to ne’er-do-wells, which is running alongside a copy of Detective Comics#27 that just fetched quite a pretty (giant) penny(worth).

• ICv2 reports on Wizard Brands’ profit reporting for this financial quarter, with the company showing a 79% decline in revenues compared to 2019, which is unsurprising for a business centered around media events during a year of no media events - with most big shows assuming no return until late-2021, at the earliest, it’ll be interesting to see what the festival circuit looks like in 2022. Probably Mad Max: The Road Warrior, unless I was lied to by Mad Max: The Road Warrior.

• The decision of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) to open their books to comic creators and graphic novelists looks like it could pay dividends, as President Mary Robinette Kowal brought attention to Disney's refusal to pay royalties to creators whose work has been hoovered up in their recent rounds of property acquisitions, which includes a number of licensed media tie-ins previously held by Dark Horse Comics, soon to be appearing on shelves in repackaged omnibus form. As Goofy would say - "gawsh, capitalism sucks!"

• The American Library Association has posted a reminder that applications are open for the next round of Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants, as the Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table (GNCRT) of ALA and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation invite submissions from ALA members in good standing from Canada, United States, or Mexico, with an application deadline of 7th February 2021.

• Via The Daily Cartoonist comes the sad news that underground comix creator and artist in a variety of media, David Geiser, passed away last month, aged 73 - you can find a gallery of his works at his website.



Truly, madly, deeply… This week’s reviews.


• Alex Curtis reviews the adventurous morality of Simon Spurrier, Chris Wildgoose, et al’s Alienated.

• Ronnie Gorham reviews the confusing slow-burn of Nick Roche’s Scarenthood #1.

• Keigen Rea reviews the focused satires of Mark Russell, Steve Pugh, et al’s Billionaire Island.

• Justin Harrison reviews the Arthurian momentum of Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, et al’s Once and Future, Volume 2: Old English, and the stupendous silliness of Kieron Gillen, Jim Rossignol, Jeff Stokely, et al's The Ludocrats.

• David Brooke reviews the inventive horror of Dan Watters, Caspar Wijngaard, et al’s Home Sick Pilots #1.

• Ben Morin reviews the distinctive promise of Tate Brombal, Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, et al’s Barbalien: Red Planet #1.


The Beat

John Seven takes the Indie View, reviewing the crucial metaphors of Abraham Martínez’ Plutocracy: Chronicles of Global Monopoly, and the relaxed empowerment of Jesse Lonergan’s Planet Paradise.


Broken Frontier

• John Trigonis reviews the meticulous meditations of Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse’s Resident Alien: Your Ride’s Here #1.

• Lindsay Pereira reviews the delightful parables of Michel Rabagliati’s Paul at Home.

• Holly Raidl reviews the grounded discussion of Rebecca Burgess’ How to be Ace: A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual.

• Bruno Savill de Jong reviews the underbaked surreality of Ram V, Anand RK, et al’s Blue in Green.

• Tom Murphy reviews the energetic investigations of Brick's The Curious Case of Leonardo’s Bicycle.

• Andy Oliver reviews:

 - The existential chills of Fraser Campbell and Lucy Sullivan’s IND-XED

 - The intense inventiveness of Peter Morey’s Animal Spirits

 - The unforgettable immediacy of David Biskup’s There’s Only One Place This Road Ever Ends Up.

 - The experimental joys of Colossive Press’ Colossive Cartographies project, featuring work by Sean Azzopardi, Olivia Sullivan, and Henry & Stanley Miller, amongst others.


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan C reviews:

 - The varied horrors of Josh Simmons’ Ghouls. 

 - The unpretentious confidence of Thomas Lampion’s Haxan Lane.

 - The sizeable exploits of Matt Canning’s Honeymoon in the Afterlife.

- The impressive efficiency of Bryce Martin's Shov Show.

- The harrowing beauty of Henriette Valium’s Fist Raid.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien reviews the amusing expectation-bucking of Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto’s Cable (volume 4) #1-4, and the flawed focus of Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert, Viktor Bogdanovic, et al’s Wolverine (volume 7) #1-5.



Nick Smith reviews the outstanding conversion of Sam Maggs and Gabi Nam’s Fangirl volume 1, adapted from the novel by Rainbow Rowell.


Multiversity Comics

• Johnny Hall reviews the distilled tropes of Pat Dorian’s Lon Chaney Speaks.

• Brian Salvatore reviews the astounding variety of Naoki Urasawa’s Sneeze, translated by John Werry.

• Noel Thorne reviews the underwhelming substance of Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse’s Resident Alien: Your Ride’s Here #1.

• Elias Rosner reviews the lacking brevity of Alex de Campi and Erica Henderson’s Dracula, Motherf**ker!.

• Christa Harader reviews the enjoyable flourishes of Jeff Lemire, Tate Brombal, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, et al's Barbalien: Red Planet #1.

• Jodi Odgers reviews the enticing amplification of Matt Fraction, Elsa Charretier, et al's  November Vol. 3: The Voice on the End of the Phone.

• Kobi Bordoley reviews the commanding horror of Rich Douek, Alex Cormack, et al's Sea of Sorrows #1.



Arlette Hernandez reviews the heartbreaking alienation of Michel Rabagliati's Paul at Home.



• Ryan Carey reviews the painful maturation of MS Harkness’ Desperate Pleasures.

• Nicholas Burman reviews the tactile imagination of Colossive Press’ Colossive Cartographies project, featuring work by Peony Gent, Tom Murphy, Douglas Noble, and Gareth A Hopkins amongst others.

• Rob Clough reviews the oblique disconnect of David Lynch’s The Angriest Dog in the World.


Women Write About Comics

• Jameson Hampton reviews the poetic chaos of Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, Leonardo Romero, et al’s The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1 & #2.

• Wendy Browne looks back at the chaotic violence of Garth Ennis, Marc Silvestri, et al’s The Darkness #1 (25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition).



The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue… This week’s interviews.


• Robert Newsome interviews Andy Douglas Day about his new comic of unusual size, Boston Corbett, storytelling dead-ends and diversions, the allure of grubby textures, and material constraints of the comics medium - “The three separate books in one case are just a limitation of physics and paper. We really wanted it to be one giant cube; just a car battery of a book but we couldn't do that, so it was split into the three volumes. Early on, I knew in general what I wanted the book to be. I knew there was going to be this guy, Boston, and there would be different storylines involving him, and then I knew it was going to suddenly switch to this other guy, Dabbler. I didn’t really consider splitting it up. It was just going to be one big blob.”

• Ian Thomas talks to Deidre Hollman about the Black Comics Collective, the origins of the Black Comic Book Festival in looking to educate children on the diversity in comics, virtual event programming in 2020, and looking back as well as forward - "I find that there are afrofuturists in the past that we study constantly and it has to do with how they envisioned what was possible for Black people that drove the work that they did and their time period . And so it's that afrofuturist vision that always got me really excited about teaching the past, and so I wanted to be sure that my students could activate that afrofuturist vision for themselves - the idea that, as Alisha B. Wormsley said, “There Are Black People In The Future” and the world that we intend to create begins today and also recognizing that, you know, there are people all over the globe envisioning our future that may not be one that we want to occupy, so we need to be sure that young people are thinking like designers and engineers in terms of building and joining in coalition with those who are building the future that they do want."


The Guardian

Keith Stuart interviews Edward Ross about his new book Gamish, the origins of computer games and games as cultural history, gatekeeping in video game fandom, and making the medium more accessible to those who don’t quite get the allure.



Séamas O'Reilly presents an unabridged version of an interview with Alan Moore, originally from 2016 for The Irish Times, promoting the publication of Moore’s prose novel Jerusalem, with tangents on V for Vendetta and the UK’s surveillance state, referencing the work of David Simon, and his formative love of genre fiction.


Multiversity Comics

Kyle Welch talks to Ryan O'Sullivan about writing his new comic A Dark Interlude, avoiding elevator pitches, envelope pushing obsessions, and unreliable narrators.



• Michael Martin talks to Francesco Marciuliano about comic strip Judge Parker, apolitical storytelling in syndicated strips, and election analogs in 2020.

• Rachel Martin interviews Steve Martin and Harry Bliss about their comic collaboration, A Wealth of Pigeons: A Cartoon Collection, (Steve) Martin’s history with comics, drawing terminology, and explaining the joke.



Daniel Elkin talks to Chris Pitzer about AdHouse Books’ publishing output during the pandemic, a year of virtual conventions (with more on the horizon), and their wider publishing ethos.



Frédéric Burnand interviews Patrick Chappatte about his new graphic novel Au Coeur de la Vague/At the Heart of the Wave, addressing the macro and micro stories to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the changing narratives as Europe enters a winter of second waves.



• Karama Horne interviews Al Ewing about writing new series We Only Find Them When They’re Dead, the allure of the unknown, and 2020 being a symptom of wider issues, not a disease in itself.

• Matthew Jackson talks to Kelly Sue Deconnick about aquatic monarchies, American ideals, and lessons to be learned from Game of Thrones.


We Need Diverse Books

Alaina Leary talks to Mirion Malle about her new book, The League of Super Feminists, making feminist studies accessible outside of academic frameworks, comics as dissertation, and the process of translating the book with Alesha Jensen.



Susan Froyd interviews political cartoonist Ward Sutton about inspirations, hypothetical dinner-guests, the fine line of cartoon humor, and Colorado life.



Pivot to longreads… This week’s features and comics.

• Here at TCJ, Cynthia Rose looks at ‘Picasso and Comics’, an exhibition at Paris' Musée Picasso, and explores the legendary artist’s history with the ninth art, and the contemporary social context of this - “Picasso's comic connection sheds plenty of light on his talent. Here was a creator who, for eight decades, never gave up his interest in caricature. Yet his own comic drawings, many of them long private, always remained the work of an artist. As critic Werner Hofmann puts it, all Picasso's cartoons have ‘a rebelliousness of form that makes no attempt to comment critically on society…[instead] they aim profoundly to examine the practice of art.’”

• For NeoText, Chloe Maveal has a pair of essays, the first looking at the work of Sam Kieth and its angular empathy; the second exploring the evocative design work of Rian Hughes as his new prose novel, The XX, arrives.

• Over at Hyperallergic, David Carrier has an essay on depictions of history in comic books, and the visceral retellings that the medium affords, looking at recent titles such as Tiananmen 1989: Our Shattered Hopes; Black Heroes of the Wild West; The Gay Agenda; A Modern Queer History & Handbook; and Battle Born: Lapis Lazuli.

• One from the Google Scholar preview files - you can read some of the essays from the first chapter of Dialogues Between Media, edited by Paul Ferstl, and excerpts from the other chapters, which include a nice range of writings across comics and manga - try before you buy, you know the drill.

• For Polygon, Aubrey Sitterson has an essay on the slide of superheroes from saviors for the common populace to leather-clad fash-bootsteppers, and the vacillation between these two states that's endemic in the genre, and its most influential creators and publishers.

• A second appearance from Séamas O'Reilly in this week’s column, with an article for The Irish Times on ‘The Irish Invasion’ of comics, and profiling creators who are making a splash at home and abroad.

• For Publisher’s Weekly, Brigid Alverson has a piece on the state of Californian comics publishing companies (minus DC) in a year of pandemics, power cuts, and apocalyptic fires, resulting in schedule shuffling and learning of new digital marketing skills.

• This week on Shelfdust you’ve got a pair of essays from Wendy Browne, one on the transgressive parodies of Larry Fuller and Raye Horne’s White Whore Funnies #1, and another on the 90s-epitomising Cyber Force #1; Charlotte Finn reaches week 46 of a year in Astro City with a tick in the win column for Team Antagonist; Steve Morris does some creative maths for not issue 450 of Amazing Spider-Man; and Infinite Crisis demands answers from Diane Darcy about Huntress, and Darci Meadows about Oracle.

• With a classic Guardian headline that completely misses the point of the article above which it appears, Mark Brown covers The Beano’s look at the world of the aging ones, as it presents BeanOLD, a collection of stories about just what on earth has been going on in 2020, from the point of view of young people’s perceptions of unending nonsense from adults in positions of power.

• Also at The Guardian, there’s a round-up of the best political cartooning of the year from out of Australia, selected from a book of the same subject edited by Russ Radcliffe; and Woodrow Phoenix has a comic on some classic white person behaviour, as part of an edition of The Observer New Review edited by Steve McQueen.

• As we enter week 738 (relative time) of this year’s election, Mike Peterson has The Daily Cartoonist’s round-ups of editorial cartooning in a time of too much news.

• Over at The Nib, Breena Nuñez documents that weird slowing of time during the election, which most likely was just a collective lack of sleep; Erik Thurman, Sarah Searle, Chris Kindred, and Anna Selheim have comics on individual perspectives of the election; and Sarah Mirk, Vreni and Joyce Rice have a longform comic on one of the many issues that’s ongoing outside of the election, namely, blackouts in California, and the disaster capitalism that shoots up around them.

• Accompanying an updated comic strip from earlier this year, on COVID-19 safety awareness for kids, for NPR, Malaka Gharib and Cory Turner present a guide for young people on coping with the pandemic as it looks set to roll on into 2021.

• In celebration of forty years of “GORDON’S ALIIIIIVE”, Comics Kingdom presents Flash Forward, as contemporary cartoonists and creators celebrate the savior of the universe, king of the impossible, Flash Gordon. Quickly now, you only have fourteen hours to read them and save the Earth!



We’ve got to take a quick break… This week’s recommended viewing and listening.

• A couple of recent virtual book events for your viewing pleasure, as Dana Gould interviewed Peter Bagge ahead of the launch of the new deluxe Hate collection, with another chance to see him in action on Monday, talking with Everett True; and the Miami Book Fair hosted a virtual in-conversation between Adrian Tomine and Lisa Hanawalt,

• Fantagraphics' own Eric Reynolds appeared on Dan Shahin's Comic News Show to talk all things FB, the company's move up the coast to Seattle in the 90s, Reynolds' work on TCJ, Love & Rockets' continued publication as a periodical, and why certain publishers really should up their design game.

• A superhero-focused week for Cartoonist Kayfabe, as Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor took a look through the pages of X-Men: Days of Future PastAll Star Batman & RobinDaniel Clowes' The Death-Ray, Youngblood Strikefileand How to Color Comics the Marvel Wayas well as brief visits with the work of Jack Kirby and Ken Landgraf.

• Jason Lutes took over Drawn & Quarterly's Instagram account this week, celebrating the new paperback edition of Berlin, and taking viewers through his daily routine, and discussing the parallels that can be drawn with history from the recent election.

• Inkpulp had another hip hop x comics crossover this week, as Shawn Crystal and Jim Mahfood spoke to The Pharcyde's Bootie Brown about the Low End Theory club nights of the 00s, hippy parents, record company business, and (of course) live-drawing.

• A couple of cartoonist chats with Noah Van Sciver this week, as he spoke to John Porcellino about the impending re-release of some of Porcellino's King-Cat Comics and the history of the title; and talked to Emil Ferris about undead creature decor, attending art school later in life, toy design, meeting people you admire (and being met by people who admire you), and life post-paralysis from West Nile virus.

• A busy week aboard the Word Balloon, as John Siuntres spoke to Mark Russell about Billionaire Island, discussed all things action comics with Rylend Grant, shifted genres to crime comics with Eddie Muller and Tom King, spoke to Shannon Wheeler about New Yorker comics and adapting the Mueller Report and the Bible, and hosted a couple of interviews for Comic Art Live, one with Matt Wagner and himself, and another between David Mack, Zu Orzu and Bill Cox.

• For July's edition of Comix Experience's Kids Graphic Novel Club, Brian Hibbs welcomed Thomas Krajewski to the stream to discuss new graphic novel, Primer, the process from script to page, and live questions from his mum.

• First Second hosted a new edition of Comics Creators Getting Coffee, as Gene Luen Yang and Sloane Leong discussed their new basketball-focused graphic novels, fictional inspirations for autobio and vice versa, the difficulties of illustrating sport scenes, and the digital/traditional dichotomy.

• A new episode of House to Astonish arrived this fine week, as Al Kennedy and Paul O'Brien got together to discuss the comings-and-goings of corporate comics houses, the comings-and-goings of house music, and took a look at Punchline and Hellboy and the BPRD: The Seven Wives Club.

 Shelfdust Presents took a look back at the first issue of Ms. Marvel for this week's episode, as Matt Lune and Adrienne Resha discussed what makes the character unique, as Marvel increasingly utilises her in its various media properties.

 Publisher's Weekly's More to Come took a look at some recent big books from the world of graphic novels likely to be making end-of-the-year lists this week, as Calvin Reid and Meg Lemke discussed Allie Brosh’s  Solutions and Other Problems, Ryan North and Albert Monteys’s adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, and Tomi Ungerer’s The Party.



That’s all for this week, if you’re celebrating Thanksgiving this year then I hope you’re able to have a safe one - personally, I'll be observing the occasion of my birthday as we always do here in the UK: socially distancing under a legally mandated quarantine, while refraining from touching my face, and regularly washing my hands. Classic.