As I clamber on up the official TCJ-branded ladder to flick the ‘days since a seismic change in the field of direct market distribution’ sign back to zero, it occurs to me that I should probably leave it like that until things calm down a little bit, but it’s also helping me to get my daily steps in, the importance of which cannot be discounted in the otherwise sedentary world of comic book links, this week’s selection of which can be found below.
Her dinner pic.twitter.com/UZUz450Owj
— 산호 KimSanho (@sanhomaydraw) May 21, 2023
This week’s news.
• Beginning this week in the once reliably unchanging branch of comic book news devoted to direct market distribution, and Image Comics announced on Wednesday that they would be following in the footsteps of DC and entering into an exclusive deal with Lunar Distribution, ending a long-standing partnership with Diamond Comic Distributors of over three decades, effective from this September - Comichron subsequently released figures that show this as 84% of Diamond’s comic volume now having shifted to a new primary source since 2020’s big distribution shake-up began.
• As sure as night follows day, controversy followed last week’s announcement of the nominations for 2023’s Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, as the nomination of Thomas Woodruff's Francis Rothbart! The Tale of a Fastidious Feral in multiple categories led former students of Woodruff at SVA to share allegations of bullying and emotional abuse in the classroom on social media, and for other commentators to also flag up the lack of diversity in this year’s Eisner’s judging panel following subsequent comments regarding apparent cultural appropriation in the book in question - publisher Fantagraphics and Woodruff both made statements in the wake of this, respectively defending the right to publish and to make challenging art.
• Comics crime files, and the comics stolen from Indiana’s Hall of Heroes Superhero Museum back in March have apparently resurfaced in Florida, as a Hillsborough County couple have been charged with dealing in stolen property, after a number of the purloined issues were identified on eBay - no word as yet, as to whether the comics in question would be banned in the state in which they now find themselves.
• Elsewhere, Matt Bors, editor and publisher of The Nib, announced this week that the magazine will be closing down this summer, after a decade of print and online publication, citing “rising costs of paper and postage, the changing landscape of social media, subscription exhaustion, inflation, and the simple difficulty of keeping a small independent publishing project alive with relatively few resources.”
• Comics personnel news, and news was shared that DC editor Mike Carlin has retired after 37 years with the publisher, while comiXology Head of Content Bryce Gold has left that post to instead work as Kickstarter’s Head of Comics.
• Finally this week, in ‘this is the one thing we didn’t want to happen’ news, Anime News Network flagged up the story that Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs had failed to effectively obscure the relevant URLs and site names in a publicly available report on the ten most accessed manga piracy sites in the country, effectively producing a how-to guide for illicitly viewing copyrighted material, with the list having been live for ten months before officials noticed.
On display @cartoonstudies: An exhibit featuring work by the graduating class of 2023. On exhibit May 9th-June 9th, at the CCS Gallery in White River Junction
Gallery hours: Monday-Friday, 12noon-4pm
Art by Erika Bloomdahl ’23 https://t.co/9xZlZmgPdD pic.twitter.com/NBZo25i9uj
— Cartoon Studies (@cartoonstudies) May 24, 2023
This week’s reviews.
• Helen Chazan reviews the phenomenal anarchy of Patrick Kyle’s Baby - “The semiotic chaos of Baby lends itself to an anarchic humor and looseness - rapid-fire punning, visual and verbal alike, careening across the page. Kyle peppers each jokey page with his trademark visual abstractions: patterned shapes and cobwebs lending a jazzy air of improvisation.”
• Hagai Palevsky reviews the cohesive charms of Benjamin Schipper’s Joe Death and the Graven Image - “I'm not sure that Benjamin Schipper has entirely found his internal balance, as a craftsman, but he certainly shows signs of having clear destinations in mind, needing only to find the right path. If finding your footing on your own terms is an indulgence, I hope he is afforded some more opportunities to indulge.”
• Aug Stone reviews the snarling passion of Raeghan Buchanan’s The Secret History of Black Punk: Record Zero - “Buchanan's tone throughout is conversational and all the better for it. Hearing someone else’s enthusiasm for something is what gets us excited the most, rather than just statements of fact. Buchanan comes across as a real fan - someone for whom music and all that goes with it inspires her enough to tell these stories, and she has the talent to do it in a unique and visually impressive way.”
• Collier Jennings reviews the smashing horror of David Pepose, Caio Majado, et al’s Hulk Annual #1.
• Lukas Shayo reviews the contrived repetitions of Ann Nocenti, Sid Kotian, et al’s Storm #1.
• David Brooke reviews the successful espionage of Al Ewing, Scot Eaton, Cam Smith, Tom Reilly, Adam Kubert, Ramon Rosanas, et al’s Fury #1.
• Ben Morin reviews the classic carnage of Marvel Comics’ Punisher War Journal.
• Keigen Rea reviews the all-ages action of Mariko Tamaki, Vita Ayala, Gurihiru, et al’s Peter Parker & Miles Morales: Spider-Men Double Trouble.
• Collier Jennings reviews the twisting action of Kyle Higgins, Ryan Parrott, Melissa Flores, Mat Groom, Daniele Di Nicuolo, et al’s Supermassive #1.
Avery Kaplan reviews the satisfying narrative of Ann Nocenti, Sid Kotian, et al’s Storm #1.
• Lindsay Pereira reviews the lingering profundity of Woshibai’s 20KM/H.
From Cover to Cover
Mike Baxter reviews the free-flowing refinement of Joe Kessler’s The Gull Yettin.
Rachel Cooke reviews the pitch-perfect panorama of Sammy Harkham’s Blood of the Virgin.
House to Astonish
Paul O’Brien has capsule reviews of Marvel Comics’ X-Men #22, X-Force #40, and X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #79.
Have starred capsule reviews of:
- The tender emotions of Emilia McKenzie’s But You Have Friends.
- The accessible grandeur of Noah Van Sciver and Marlena Myles' Paul Bunyan: The Invention of an American Legend.
- The resounding triumph of Bill Griffith’s Three Rocks - The Story Of Ernie Bushmiller: The Man Who Created Nancy.
• Drew Bradley reviews the delightful surprises of Megan Kelso’s Who Will Make the Pancakes.
• Christopher Egan reviews the fresh horror of Scott Snyder Presents: Dark Spaces: Good Deeds #1.
• Jaina Hill reviews the safe drama of Jed MacKay, C.F. Villa, et al’s Avengers #1.
• Gregory Ellner reviews the tradecraft fun of Al Ewing, Scot Eaton, Cam Smith, Tom Reilly, Adam Kubert, Ramon Rosanas, et al’s Fury #1.
Adam Sobsey reviews the impassioned voice of Paul Peart-Smith’s adaptation of W. E. B. Du Bois’ Souls of Black Folk.
Have capsule reviews of:
- The unsettling resonance of Peter Dunlap-Shohl’s Nuking Alaska.
- The fabulous celebration of Eric Kostiuk Williams’ 2AM Eternal.
- The audacious commentary of Chuck D’s Stewdio: The Naphic Grovel Artrilogy of Chuck D.
- The companionable cartooning of Fred Noland’s Steady Rollin’: Preacher’s Kid, Black Punk and Pedaling Papa.
- The skilful lyricism of Kyle Vingoe-Cram’s Kettle Harbour.
- The vibrant magic of SJ Sindu and Nabi H. Ali’s Shakti.
- The empathetic chronicling of Valentin Gendrot and Thierry Chavant’s Flic: The True Story of the Journalist Who Infiltrated the Police, translated by Frank Wynne.
Hagai Palevsky reviews the wonderful contrasts of Max Baitinger’s Heimdall.
Women Write About Comics
Joan Zahra Dark reviews the painful truths of Victoria Ying's Hungry Ghost.
— AthenaeumComicArt (@athenaeum_art) May 23, 2023
This week’s interviews.
Zach Rabiroff interviews Deniz Camp, Stipan Morian, and Aditya Bidikar about 20th Century Men, the origins of their work in comics and collaboration on this book, and cultural influences - “[Morian:] I’m deeply disappointed in the solutions that the west is offering. And I know the east, and I know the Soviet Union… so I don’t know. I’m waiting for some third solution that we need to see. What we need to see is some other sort of socialism: not Chinese, not Russian. Let’s start to change this, because this is going nowhere. We are going straight to hell.”
• Chris Coplan speaks with Greg Pak about City Boy, heroes in the urban sprawl, and comparing this new project to past works; and with members of the Cartoonist Cooperative about the organisation’s aims and origins.
• Chris Hassan talks to Al Ewing, Kieron Gillen and Simon Spurrier about Marvel’s Sins of Sinister event, and psychic costs of the social contract.
• William Quant chats with Dave Scheidt about Mayor Good Boy, unexpected genre influences, and lessons learned from the world of indie comics.
• Avery Kaplan interviews Ollie Hicks and Emma Oosterhous about Grand Slam Romance, and expanding the story from a short comic to a graphic novel.
• Deanna Destito talks to Mirka Andolfo about Bettie Page on the comics page, setting the story in Italy, and writing outside of continuity.
The Los Angeles Times
Tracy Brown chats with Gene Luen Yang about American Born Chinese, the origins of the book and its on-screen adaptation, and dealing with tough topics in a gentle way.
Juana Summers interviews Jim Lee about favourite superheroes on the page and on the screen, wearing multiple corporate hats at DC, and what the future holds.
Iyana Jones speaks with Tegan Quin, Sara Quin, and Tillie Walden about Junior High, their collaborative process, and where the story goes from here.
Ryo Takayama talks to Eito Namba, aka Number 8, about adapting Shinichi Ishizuka’s Blue Giant, the attraction of jazz, and writing for manga and screenplays.
MILK is excited to announce an upcoming event at @lionstoothmke! This COMICS WORKSHOP is open to all cartoonists who want feedback on their work, no matter what step of the comics-making journey they are on.
Mark your calendar for June 15th, 2023! We’ll see you there 🖊 pic.twitter.com/4I8RP45lDo
— MILK Comics Fest (@MilkComicFest) May 8, 2023
This week’s features and longreads.
• Here at TCJ, Cynthia Rose reports from the Mémorial de la Shoah’s exhibition ‘Spirou dans la Tourmente de la Shoah’, chronicling the history of Robert Velter’s Spirou in the context of Émile Bravo's L’Espoir Malgré Tout - “The exhibition's essence resides in a puppet: a colorful 3D likeness of Spirou himself. This fantastic figure is a real-life hero whose strange story begins in 1942. That year, on a Wednesday in July, Doisy and Hambrésin lunched with Hertz Jospa. Jospa, also a communist, had co-founded the Jewish Defense Committee. Now, under the cover of superficial banter, he and Hambrésin had a pressing request: Doisy must find them a woman to save Jewish children.”
• Also for TCJ, Dean Simons writes in remembrance of comics author Chris Reynolds, creator of Mauretania, and lifelong artist, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 62 - “After the graphic novel and the end of Mauretania Comics, Reynolds had not stopped creatively. His passion for storytelling never withered, but a dissatisfaction with time- and labor-intensive traditional pen and paper methods, coupled with growing physical impairment, meant he sought new creative means to bring to life his ideas. He turned to plays, prose, film, painting. None of these satisfied him as much as the comics page.”
• Finally for TCJ this week, Tegan O’Neil presents a new edition of ‘Murderers’ Row’, this time out writing in celebration of the work of Rick Leonardi, and Leonardi’s artistic range shown in collaborations with Ann Nocenti - “I don’t believe Leonardi’s period with Williamson is as crucial to his evolution as Williamson’s presence was for John Romita Jr., or even to Lee Weeks. There’s a tentativeness in early Romita that you might not even notice until you see him blow past those limitations on Daredevil. It’s similarly hard not to see that for Weeks; his collaboration with Williamson provided a necessary grounding, an aesthetic focusing, the evidence of which can still be seen in his work today.”
• Ahead of the magazine’s closure this summer, The Nib’s series of Archive articles returns for 2023, this month with Glenn Fleishman looking back on the art of colouring Sunday newspaper strips.
• Elizabeth Sandifer’s Last War in Albion continues, as this latest edition turns the spotlight on Bill Sienkiewicz, New Mutants, Stray Toasters, and artistic collaborations with Frank Miller and Alan Moore.
• For From Cover to Cover, Scott Cederlund looks back on Rick Veitch’s The One and superhero revisionism, in the shadow of the Cold War, as seminal texts provided a template for all that would follow.
• Over at The Beat, d. emerson eddy’s Classic Comic Compendium continues, as Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga #1 ushered in a new direct market phenom.
• Shelfdust’s Steve Morris observes another Dust for Dust, looking back at the tricentennial ending of Hellblazer, and the aptly impenetrable not-quite-curtain-call for John Constantine; while David Brothers writes on D.G. Chichester and Ron Garney’s Daredevil #304, and the superhero fantasy of justice meted out, that a police state can never fulfil.
• From the world of open-access academia, in Investigaciones Sociales, Stefan Ziemendorff reviews the hypotheses put forward to identify the particular mummy which inspired Hergé to create Rascar Capac in The Seven Crystal Balls.
• In the Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, Shrabanee Khatai and Seema Kumari Ladsaria examine the work of cartoonist Rohan Chakravarty, to argue for the use of anthropomorphised cartoons to promote an agenda of ecological balance in the Anthropocene age.
🚨POSTER REVEAL! 🚨
CAKE 2023 is coming up JUNE 3 & 4 2023 at The Broadway Armory. We can't wait to see you there! Don't forget your mask! We'll be posting more on our fantastic Special Guests as we get closer to the show so stay tuned!
— Chi Alt Comics Expo (@CAKEchicago) April 7, 2023
This week’s audio/visual delights.
• Tegan O’Neil and Claire Napier reconvened for episode two of Udder Madness, charting the history of Top Cow, as this week Witchblade makes a first appearance in the pithily-named Cyblade / Shi #1 - The Battle for Independents.
• WNPR’s Disrupted republished interviews with Jerry Craft and Barbara Brandon-Croft this week, as host Khalilah Brown-Dean spoke on the difficulties Black cartoonists face in having their work published and syndicated.
• Gary Lactus and The Beast Must Die brought the sound of SILENCE! to the airwaves once more, as new comic books by the hosts and not by the hosts were discussed, as well as the work of Michael Kupperman.
• Brian Hibbs chaired fresh meeting of the Comix Experience book clubs, welcoming Ryan North and Erica Henderson to talk about Danger & Other Unknown Risks and the creative processes behind the book, and talking with Betty C. Tang about Parachute Kids and sharing the story with family members.
• David Harper was joined by Ram V for this week’s edition of Off Panel, as they spoke about balancing a formidable workload on various titles for the Big Two and creator-owned books, and the allure of comics as a medium.
• Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, and Kate Fitzsimons presented a new episode of Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come, as they spoke about the upcoming U.S. Book Show, and recent news from the comics industry, including those recent Eisner nominations.
• Fresh faces on this week’s Cartoonist Kayfabe selection, as Bryan Moss joined Ed Piskor for some reports from Japan, speaking with Japan Book Hunter about rare print finds, and some regular-style #content with Jim Rugg, as well as Tom Scioli and Warren Bernard guest spots, looking at Amazing Spider-Man Annual #11, Gothic Blimp Works, Caliber Presents, and The Vault of Mike Allred.
i do remember drawing this creepy thing actual size with a mechanical pencil for the tpb of pirate's ghost pic.twitter.com/96wZvfV3RW
— tonči zonjić (@tozozozo) May 22, 2023
No more links this week, the well has run dry, but will fill back up again in short order.
— Asahi Shimbun AJW (@AJWasahi) May 24, 2023