Stop Kiddin’ Middlemen Need Ritalin – This Week’s Links

...and we’re back! It’s a new year, and there's absolute chaos everywhere you look, so here are some fresh new links, below, catching you up on the moving and the shaking in the comics world, with a bumper post-holidays edition.

“Shake off the January blues, and read you some comics news!™”



Out with the old, in with… This week’s news.

• Kicking off 2021 with the first awards news of the year, as Broken Frontier announced the shortlists for their celebration of emerging talent and best comic releases of the year, and then promptly followed that up with the winners, including a hall of fame entry for my local comic shop - Gosh! Comics.

• Also via Broken Frontier come the winners of the Young Cartoonist of the Year, presented by the Cartoon Museum and the British Cartoonists’ Association, with 2020’s under 30s prize going to Fergus Boylan and the under 18s prize going to Daniel Mielke (aged 10).

• The US Small Business Association have opened up a new round of Paycheck Protection Program funding following signing of the recent US Coronavirus Relief Bill into law. ICv2 has a breakdown of the loans, which may be of use to comic retailers hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Mark Waid’s lawyer, Mark Zaid, has released a statement that Richard Meyer has voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit pertaining to a claim of tortious interference with contract and defamation against Waid, citing the impact of COVID-19, with neither party able to admit liability or claim victory in the case.

• Also in the legal sphere, publications from 1925 finally entered the public domain this New Year’s Day after a delay ushered in by one Michael Mouse. Along with the inevitable The Great Gatsby adaptations, The Daily Cartoonist has a round-up of comic strips that are now available.

• Our first bit of auction news of the year, and it’s a good one, as the “finest known Batman #1” in existence will be going up on the block, and is expected to take over $1,000,000, thereby making Bruce Wayne proud.

• A couple of stories I’d wager we’ll see repeated throughout 2021, given the whole of everything right now: Wizard World postponed a number of their in-person events to 2021; and Chicago Review Press have acquired a number of Fulcrum Publishing’s graphic novel titles, as the latter streamline their output.



Starting as we mean to go on… This week’s reviews.


• Frank M. Young reviews the hilarious chaos of Sunday Press’ Gross Exaggerations: The Meshuga Comic Strips of Milt Gross - “[T]his book is the first time the works of Milt Gross have been presented with concordance and real care. Earlier anthologies made do with pre-digital limitations and smaller reproduction sizes. They made a case for the caffeinated, limb-flailing chaos of the cartoonists’ work and left the reader hungry for more. Properly dosed, Gross’ work is one long hysterical howl. His cartooning makes you want to draw. The life in those lines! Those wild, broad scribbles and scrawls that our eyes, determined to make sense out of the abstract, turn into figures, buildings, dogs, fire hydrants and belligerent policemen! The teeming, manic energy! Gross makes cartooning seem such breezy fun.”

• Joe McCulloch reviews the crowded silliness of Yukio Sawada’s Super Mario Manga Mania, translated by Caleb Cook and adapted by Molly Tanzer - “Indeed, the comics in Super Mario Manga Mania don't really match the tone of the Mario franchise at all - the games typically project a gentle whimsy, sometimes with touches of light psychedelia, or surreal character business. In contrast, Sawada's characters are frequently angry and sniping, shoving each other through knockabout scenes. There's norm-enforcing jokes -- fat jokes, ugly jokes -- that aren't so common on the manicured Mario scene. Sometimes the stories have little morals, like 'be nice to pets', while others are shot through with a pungent cynicism.”

• Hillary Brown reviews the freeing messiness of Mirion Malle’s The League of Super Feminists - “Malle uses the power of cute through her drawings to soften her edges, which lets her talk about intersex folx, the evils of capitalism, racism in everyday life, gender as social construction and more in a way that makes it accessible and non-threatening. Her drawings of vulvas are, frankly, adorable. Bright colors abound. The variety of people she draws is lovely: fat, thin, short, tall, “feminine,” punk rock, muscular, disabled, bald, Black, Brown, princessy, wrinkled, children, etc. There’s an appealing, slightly reckless casualness to the drawings, too.”

• Tim Hayes reviews the fractious darkness of Al Columbia’s The Biologic Show - “Like any art which earnestly taps into the dark stuff, The Biologic Show is hardly any one thing. It's a burlesque, that home turf of insult and scorn, and if it's messier and less focused than the things that Columbia went on to do later, it's also the Petri dish from which several new molecules emerged, some of them more elegantly formed.”

• Derik Badman reviews the melancholy longing of Peony Gent's For Sarah and Half a Conversation on a Park Bench Kensington"Gent's drawing style is exciting and fresh, the kind of drawing I wish I could do. She keeps her line loose and her imagery abstracted, but it always looks specific and observed, as if she has drawn much by sketching from life. The combination is wonderful, and makes for drawing that I love to look at. Not overly detailed, not overly generic, a sweet spot that falls in between."



• Sam Rutzick reviews the odd excess of Steve Orlando, Davide Tinto et al’s Commanders in Crisis #3.

• Justin Harrison reviews the compelling introductions of Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Jacob Phillips’ Reckless Volume 1; and Kieron Gillen, Esad Ribić, et al’s resurrection of the Eternals.

• Ben Morin reviews the engaging echoes of David Pepose, Ruben Rojas, et al’s The O.Z. #1.

• David Brooke reviews the underwhelming goriness of Adam Barnhardt and Samir Simao’s Shitshow #1.

• Chris Coplan reviews the unbalanced ambitions of Dan Watters and Kishore Mohan’s The Picture Of Everything Else #1.

• Keigen Rea reviews the unsettling metaphors of Zac Thompson, Andy MacDonald, et al’s I Breathed a Body #1.

• Lia Galanis reviews the thought-provoking narratives of Magdalene Visaggio, Gleb Melnikov, et al’s Jinny Hex Special #1.

• Alex Curtis reviews the disappointing beginnings of Conor McCreery and V.V. Glass’ The Last Witch.

• Rory Wilding reviews the redundant dystopia of Zack Kaplan and Piotr Kowalski's Join the Future vol. 1.


The Beat

• John Seven reviews the personable charms of Dan Mazur’s Lunatic.

• AJ Frost reviews the precocious surrealness of Rob Kutner, Allison Amdur Garwood, and the 1st Grade Comic Book Creators’ Bat-Chef & R.P. Chichi: Corona Fighters!.


Broken Frontier

• Bruno Savill de Jong reviews the satisfying excitement of Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Jacob Phillips’ Reckless.

• Rebecca Burke reviews the hopeful whimsy of Marta Selusi’s Winter Night: A Lost Kid’s Tale.

• Andy Oliver reviews the essential relevance of Simon Moreton’s Minor Leagues #10, the eerie escapism of Phil Elliott and Robert Wells’ Malty Heave #2, and the unrestrained fragility of Anja Uhren’s Lost (Lives Unlived).


Four Color Apocalypse

Ryan C reviews the disconcerting creeps of Robb Mirsky’s Sludgy.


The Guardian

Rachel Cooke reviews the bleak hilarity of Michel Rabagliati’s Paul at Home.


House to Astonish

Paul O’Brien reviews the divisive disinterest of Tini Howard and a carousel of artists’ tenure on Excalibur #10-15, and the scattershot curiosity of Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Francis Yu, Mahmud Asrar, et al’s X-Men #10-15.



Nick Smith provides capsule reviews of the oddity of Andrea Grosso Ciponte’s Freiheit!: The White Rose Graphic Novel, and the disgusting humour of John Layman and Dan Boultwood’s Chu Vol. 1: First Course.



Have capsule reviews of:

- The engaging adventures of Cale Atkinson’s Super Detectives.

- The accessible education of Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley’s A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu, and You.

- The immersive beauty of Mark Crilley’s My Last Summer With Cass.

- The rich worldbuilding of Stan Stanley’s The Hazards of Love: Bright World.

- The dynamic heartaches of Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter’s Allergic.

- The exemplary excavations of Brian K. Mitchell and Barrington S. Edwards’ Monumental: Oscar Dunn and his Radical Fight in Reconstruction Louisiana.

- The impassioned intensity of COVID Chronicles: A Comics Anthology, edited by Kendra Boileau and Rich Johnson.

- The audacious ambition of Elizabeth A. Povinelli’s The Inheritance.


Multiversity Comics

• Elias Rosner reviews the subtle horrors of Alex Paknadel, Nil Vendrell, et al’s Redfork.

• Kate Kosturski reviews the effective simplicity of Ethan Sacks, Dalibor Talajić, et al’s COVID Chronicles.

• Gregory Ellner reviews the familiar dynamics of DC's Future State: The Next Batman #1, featuring a variety of creators.

• Alexander Jones reviews the emotional advancements of Kieron Gillen, Esad Ribić, et al's Eternals #1.



Ryan Carey reviews the enthralling escapism of Jesse Lonergan’s Planet Paradise.


Women Write About Comics

• Doris V. Sutherland reviews the artistic weirdness of Laura Marks, Kelley Jones, et al’s Daphne Byrne.

• Lisa Fernandes reviews the balanced melancholy of NBM Publishing’s Willie Nelson: A Graphic History, and bids a fond farewell to Shannon Watters, Alexa Bosy, Kanesha C. Bryant, et al's Lumberjanes: End of Summer.

• Latonya Pennington reviews the memorable excitement of Gabby Rivera, Celia Moscote, et al’s Juliet Takes A Breath: The Graphic Novel.



The Best of The Best of 2020s for the start of 2021.

• Kicking off the new year with a look back at the best of the old, here at TCJ a cavalcade of contributors presented their favorites from the past year, giving you a good jumping off point for things you might have missed, including picks from Hillary Brown, Nicholas Burman, me, RJ Casey, Helen Chazan, Austin English, Abhay Khosla, Rob Kirby, Joe McCulloch, Brian Nicholson, Austin Price, Oliver Ristau, Cynthia Rose, Matt Seneca, Tom Shapira, and Frank Young, all of whose work it's been a pleasure to read the last year.

• The Beat present their picks for the 50 best comics of 2020, including a mix of graphic novels, online comics, YA titles, and a general mish-mash of the comics that made it to the stands during a really weird year for publishing.

• The Daily Cartoonist stays true to their focus, and presents a round up of various year-in-review articles from editorial illustrators, and picks for the favourite political cartoons from the year that almost broke democracy wholesale.

• For Forbes, Rob Salkowitz presents his picks for the best graphic novels of 2020, in a year when the book channel really flexed its dominance of market sales, as Diamond and DC postured over direct market inanities (more on that below).

• Over at Four Color Apocalypse, Ryan C presents a selection of different flavors for best of the year, providing his top ten single issues, top ten ongoing series, top ten things that are neither of those, top ten contemporary collections, top ten vintage collections, and top ten original graphic novels.

• Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Graeme McMillan presents his choices for the best comics of 2020, as well as some more coverage for just how weird 2020 was when writing about comics, as society went increasingly insane for a number of reasons.

• Looper’s Thompson Smith draws solely from the direct market for the best of 2020, which is a choice, but the list is alphabetised, so I’ll give props for that.

• Presenting the second batch of Multiversity Comics’ pathologically granular round-up of 2020 in comics (see the previous edition of This Week’s Links for the other batch, true believers!), you’ve got their picks for best small press publisher, best not-small-press publisher, best one-shot, best completed series, best new series that is not completed, best series that’s not new but is also not completed, best single panel, best single pen stroke, best digital first, best webcomic that’s not classed as a digital first, best manga, best original graphic novel, best artist, and best writer - the word best has now lost all meaning, send thesauruses, stat.

• Susana Polo, Chloe Maveal, and Katie Schenkel calm things down again and present their picks for the best comics of 2020 at Polygon, and a round-up of what went on in the market in 2020, and there’s similar fare from JK Parkin, Shane Bailey, Tom Bondurant, and Carla Hoffman for Smash Pages; Matthew Jackson for SYFY Wire; and Justin Carter, Caitlin Rosberg, Oliver Sava, Tiffany Babb, and ML Kejera over at The AV Club.

• Just about taking the award for sheer weight of numbers, Solrad presents the picks for best of 2020 from Daniel Elkin, Lane Yates, Michael Aushenker, Jef Harmatz, Sara Jewell, Rob Clough, Tom Shapira, Francesca Lyn, Charles Hatfield, Tom Lake, Anna Sellheim, Kay Sohini, Alex Hoffman, James Romberger, Ryan Carey, and Nicholas Burman. Blimey.

• Over at SKTCHD, David Harper presents his round-ups of the creators and comics of 2020, released howling into the wild from behind the towering paywall.

• Women Write About Comics have round-ups of the best big press comics and small press comics of 2020 from Kayleigh Hearn, and a review of 2020 in the comics academia space from the team, presented by Adrienne Resha. Now let us never talk of 2020 again.



Catch us up on everything you’ve had to cancel recently… This week’s interviews.


• Eleanor Davis talks to Patrick Dean about his new graphic novel Eddie’s Week, love of slapstick, organizing Athen’s mini-comic festival FLUKE, and the enduring inspiration of horror strips - “Comics are such a fantastic way to tell a story for its accessibility. I've admired how it can tell its message even without words – in a world divided by tongues a pantomime comic can be understood by practically everybody around the globe. Comics appear in newspapers that can be enjoyed and tossed away or collected in seventy dollar hardbacks. But I prefer its non-precious disposable qualities. It’s an artform that is rugged and can take a beating.”

• Excerpted from issue 306 of The Comics Journal’s print edition, Gary Groth interviews Roz Chast about old-white-male-domination of the cartooning world in the 70s, playing her own long-game, the new Great Depression, and the variety of her contemporary projects - “For me, looking at graphic novels and reading books — it keeps me further away from the edge of the cliff, along with working. Not just me, but I’m sure that other people who love to read, and love graphic novels, and who love comics and love cartoons — it’s not just fitting in around the edge — this is a daily, extremely important part of our lives.”

• Andrew White catches up with Austin English about Domino Books’ status quo, curation of publications to showcase the diversity what’s out there, how that can stifle reader exploration, and the nitty gritty of running a publisher and distro - “I think a lot of people recoil at how there's such a low bar of entry in comics, the medium feels amateurish and disorganized, but I think someone photocopying their work without much of an idea who it's for or why they made it, that's one of the very important parts of comics culture  that I find exciting...and I think having work like that alongside an art book by Dorothy Iannone (someone who is known worldwide but perhaps under discussed in comics, but in my view, accessible to all), well...something like that existing would be important to me. Inchoate, emerging expression next to fully formed yet maligned expression...the combination of both adds up to something very important to me. “

• Alex Dueben talks to Denys Cowan about the old and the new of his comics work, Continuity Comics’ place in developing the 80s comics pantheon, studio stories, following the money, and Milestone Comics' origins - “Just an aside, the first savage criticism of my work I ever got, someone who completely tore me down, was Walt Simonson. I was already doing Power Man and Iron Fist and I thought I was the shit. I was Denys Cowan. You couldn’t tell me nothing. Well, very confidently I showed my pencils to Walt Simonson. One of my artistic heroes. He was at Marvel, leaning against a wall, probably waiting for an editor or a check. I handed him this stack of pages and he looked at it and then proceeded to tear down page by page, panel by panel, all the things I was doing wrong. This is published work and I was like, oh. [laughs] I was devastated, but I learned so much from that one conversation.”


The Beat

• Avery Kaplan talks to David Levithan about his new graphic novel with Nick Bertozzi, Be More Chill, the visual language of the comic form, taking liberties with the plot while staying true to the spirit, and junk food in fiction and reality; John Jennings about writing the upcoming graphic novel adaptation of After The Rain, the difficulty of turning prose into comics, the surreal qualities of comics that lend themselves to speculative fiction, and publishing imprint Megascope; and Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue about Katie the Catsitter, the importance of pets, animal shelter volunteering, and daily lockdown routines.

• Taimur Dar interviews Arie Kaplan about Capstone’s Discover Graphics: Mythical Creatures series, balancing pandemic work and homeschool schedules, and the business of creating mythologies.

• Heidi MacDonald presents the annual Creator Survey for 2021, saying goodbye to the old year, and hello to the new, by talking to a variety of comic creators about their takes on what’s been and what’s yet to be.


The Guardian

Lorenzo Tondo interviews Tiziano Sclavi about his creation, Dylan Dog, why the paranormal investigator’s adventures have never crossed over into the mainstream in the UK where the character calls home, and why he chose England as its setting, having never visited the country in his life.



Milton Griepp talks to Z2 Comics’ founders Josh Frankel and Sridhar Reddy about what the publisher has planned for 2021, how you legally get your comics into the hands of musicians depicted in them, and sweet, sweet profit margins.


Multiversity Comics

• Kyle Welch talks to Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins about their new book Fear Case, the challenge of making comics truly scary, comparisons to a certain HBO detective series with supernatural allusions, and real world inspirations for horror premises.

• Present interviews with a whole host of comic creators to close out 2020, asking them to wax lyrical on what got them through the insanity of the past year, whose work they first became aware of this year, personal comics highlights for 2020, what they want to see more of in 2021, and personal reading recommendations from 2020.



Tonya Mosley talks to John Ridley about The Other History of the DC Universe and Future State: The Next Batman, writing a Batman who happens to be Black, not a Black Batman, and the appeal of telling stories focused on superheroes and their families.


Smash Pages

Catching up with Alex Dueben’s interviews over the festive period, as he spoke to TKO Studios’ Sebastian Girner, Comics Kingdom’s Tea Fougner, the CBLDF’s interim director Jeff Trexler, Trung Le Nguyen (about new book The Magic Fish), and comics scholar and critic Adrienne Resha.



• Daniel Elkin presents a new edition of Knowing is Half the Battle, as Glynnis Fawkes shares her expectations for publishers and agents, professionalism at events, and the importance of researching potential collaborators.

• Gabriela Güllich talks (in comic form) to the team behind Gringo Love: Stories of Sex Tourism in Brazil about how their collaboration on the project came about, keeping academic comics interesting visually, and increasing accessibility through the comics medium.



• Mike Avila interviews Peter Hogan about Resident Alien making it to the screen, the relative speed of its decade-long transition from page to television, and his journey through British comics and the US’ direct market publishers.

• Matthew Jackson talks to Zac Thompson about I Breathed A Body, the joys of social media personalities, the slow burn of good horror, and the untapped potential of mushrooms.




This week’s features and comics.

• For TCJ, Michael O’Connell plays detective to track the provenance of a nude portrait by Milton Caniff, becoming part of the mystery himself, sharing the size of the thing, and the history wrapped up in the picture - “It is an unusual image. Not just because of the subject’s lack of clothing, but that it’s so big and in a format the artist typically reserved for speaking engagements in front of large groups of people...As one of the most popular comic strip artists of the era, Caniff received many requests from fans for pin-ups of his female characters. Usually, he complied by sending along a print, which he signed and hand colored. Occasionally, though, he would create an original drawing. Ever the promoter, Caniff saw these interactions with his audience as a way to reward a loyal reader and keep his work in the public’s mind.”

• Also here at TCJ, Tom Shapira looks back at Garth Ennis, Killian Plunkett, James Sinclair, and Ellie DeVille’s Unknown Soldier, with Ennis in full 'salute to our warrior class' oratory, and setting up shop for themes he’d revisit in later work - “In many ways Unknown Soldier serves as a prototype for My War Gone Bye. Both are based on a classic character, both make that character functionally immortal without admitting to anything supernatural, and both use that immortality to explore the long and convoluted history of post-World War II ‘global outreach’ efforts by the United States. It's a choice that provides for a good share of the red in the ol’ red, white and blue. In My War Gone Bye we see everything from Nick Fury’s point of view in a manner that is meant to demystify the character (even if Ennis can’t quite let go of warrior worship), while in Unknown Soldier we get an outside look at the figure, keeping it mythical; but I’m talking ‘mythical’ like the Titans – terrible and frightening.”

• Toasting the end of Koyama Press’ output as a publisher, Quill and Quire present an oral history of the press’ origins and work, its place in the wider Canadian comics scene, and the creators whose work it helped put into the hands of readers.

• 2020 was a rough year for losing creators in all mediums, but comics was hit especially hard, and that’s really brought home in the in memoriam articles that closed out the year - paying respect to those who passed are NeoText, Multiversity Comics, Smash Pages, and The Daily Cartoonist, and there are special individual tributes to Denny O’Neil and Albert Uderzo, both of whom passed away in 2020.

• On a brighter note, 2020 saw Bill Watterson speaking more in public about Calvin and Hobbes, as the strip hit its 35th anniversary in November of 2020/25th anniversary of its final strip in December of 2020, and The Washington Post’s Michael Cavna has interviews with Watterson and various daily strip alum about its legacy, as well as a look back at its history.

• Shelfdust closed out the year with Charlotte Finn finishing ‘A Year In Astro City’ (for now), looking at issues 51 and 52 of the comic, and the ascendance of the superhero to pop culture supremacy, while Jude Jones looked at the unknowable quality of belief through the lens of Black Panther #13, and Zoe Tunnell sings the praises of Al Ewing and Aud Koch’s cosmic machinations in Ultimates volume 2 #8.

• Over at NeoText, Gregory Paul Silber looks at the reason for the season and questions the lack of prominent Chanukah comics, given the importance of Jewish creators in the history of superhero titles; Chloe Maveal looks back at 75 years since the publication of Hugo Pratt’s first comics work, Asso di Picche, and the creators’ personal and creative history, and the inherent coolness of the work of Darwyn Cooke; and Benjamin Marra presents galleries of Jim Steranko’s work on Mediascene, and Ken Kelly and Stephen Fabian’s fantasy illustrations.

• For The New York Times, Norimitsu Onishi and Constant Méheut look back at the Charlie Hebdo attack of 2015, following last month’s guilty verdict passed down on 14 people who aided in the killings, and the cultural divisions that the slogan “Je Suis Charlie” now embodies, as Islamophobia is on the rise in France, and across Europe, once again.

• Looking back on what could comfortably be termed a turbulent year for comics publishers, various outlets take stock of the lessons to be learned, as we head into year 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic, with pieces from Graeme McMillan and Aaron Couch for The Hollywood Reporter on how the market survived a near shutdown, Brigid Alverson providing a similar view for Smash Pages, Chris Coplan for AIPT on how that can be avoided going forward, Rob Salkowitz for ICv2 with a pair of articles on the business machinations of 2020 and forecasts for 2021 and a look at the DC Comics debacle of 2020 for Publisher’s Weekly, Alenka Figa for Women Write About Comics on the alternative options available to combat zine fair withdrawal, and a roundtable discussion between contributors to Multiversity Comics on how comics weathered the pandemic overall.

• For Comicosity, Frederick Luis Aldama looks back over 2020 from the perspective of Latinx comic communities, and provides a round-up of wins from virtual events to publication and dissemination breakthroughs; while Allen Thomas explores the musical journey undertaken in Natsuki Kizu’s manga Given, and its intertwined narratives of self-discovery.

• Editorial cartooning didn’t take any time off over the festive break, because there was too much politics happening every second of every minute of every hour, and The Daily Cartoonist had round-ups including right wing fears of a Chinese planet, inevitable admissions of defeat, vaccine relief, fiscal relief (or lack thereof), terrorism, more fiscal relief (or lack thereof), good riddance to a bad year, bare-faced lies, and bare-faced criminality, just really crazily public criminality, and then, inevitably, absolute chaos. Good, and I cannot stress this enough, grief!

• For Women Write About Comics Dani Kinney looks back at the history of Marvel Comics’ engagement with trans characters, and Ann Nocenti’s writing of Jessie Drake, while Claire Napier writes on the unassailable fact that Marvel Comics’ Crystal is The Worst.

• Over at AIPT, Ritesh Babu has a piece on musicality in comics, and how the latter is pretty good at depicting the former, while Alexandra Iciek looks at the issues with Dan Slott’s recent storytelling decisions in the Marvel universe, inability to hit deadlines and harassing critics on social media aside.

• Wolverine? Still Going. He’s the best at what he do, Bub!

• For 13th Dimension, Paul Kupperberg presents some more personal favorites, this time including Dick Dillin’s JSA/JLA work, and Christmas comics.

• NPR’s Sandip Roy looks at Indian superhero title Priya, and how the character has been used to educate children on important social issues that may otherwise be difficult to convey to younger readers, including acid attacks and human trafficking, and her new fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Catching up with some of The Nib’s longform comics from the last few weeks, as there’s an anonymous contribution documenting 6 months of political protests in Thailand, Rosa Colón charts the positive outcomes of protests in Puerto Rico, Mey Rude and Sage Coffey look at the Manx story of Gef the talking mongoose, Eric Haven charts the origins of a new (less than) superhero, Emily Flake celebrates a very odd New Year’s Eve, and Andrew Greenstone provides some “interesting” dating advice for quarantine.

• The New Yorker’s 28th December edition was the Cartoon Issue, which meant new comics work from, amongst others, Jillian Tamaki, Glynnis Fawkes, Annah Feinberg and Gina Young, Roz Chast, Ronald Wimberley, and Ali Fitzgerald, with a Charles Addams homaging cover from Harry Bliss.

• For NPR, Connie Hanzhang Jin and Hansi Lo Wang have a comic on the political power mixed up in the US census, and the long lasting effects it can have for gerrymandering efforts.

• A quick round-up of recent publications in the comics academia space, as new editions of Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society and The Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics drop, and Ex-centric Narratives: Journal of Anglophone Literature, Culture and Media has an article by Christina Dokou on the work of Emily Carroll in relation to concepts of second-wave feminism.



Rounding up the odds and the sods of the pods and the vods.

(This week’s edition is already running way long (sorry Tucker, happy new year!), so here’s a quick round-up of some listening and viewing to catch up with, while most channels are still on their winter breaks.)

• Some YooToob channels for which the Holidays are not a time for rest, but more #tent, as Cartoonist Kayfabe looked at some oldies but goodies, including Messrs Cooke, Toth, Ditko, Miller, Kirby, and Rude; Noah Van Sciver spoke to Marc Bell, Igor Tuveri, RJ Casey, Michael Kupperman, and Mary FleenerInkpulp featured Shawn Crystal in-conversation with Jesse Hernandez and Dan Soder; and Comix Experience and The Beat presented September’s Graphic Novel of the Month Club with Brian Hibbs talking to Daniel Newman and artist George O'Connor about new book Unrig: How to Fix our Broken Democracy, which seems extremely apropo right now.

• On the listening front, Mex Flentallo continued their dive into the direct market, talking to Tamra Bonvillain about Marvel’s Civil War, Elena Levin about Mike Grell’s Green Arrow jams, and Leah Williams about Wonder Woman being less than wondrous; Gary Lactus and The Beast Must Die wish listeners a SILENCE! Christmas, with ghosts of comics past and present, and half-finished songs of merriment; Off Panel rings out the old year with Brandon Burpee and rings in the new with Ryan North; Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come checked in on the world of digital comics platforms and tried to unpack the section of 2020’s pandemonium labelled ‘comics’; The Virtual Memories Show asked a number of comics’ great and good what the best of the medium (and some prose) was from the past year; and Shelfdust Presents kicked off season 2 by asking what happens when a landmass is bitten by a radioactive spider in Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger #2 with guest Mairghread Scott.



That’s all for this week, back again next Friday with more - we’ve returned to lockdown here in the UK, so I’ve got nowt else to do but read about political pandemonium and comics chaos! 

2021, you son of a gun, you’ve done did it again!