Joe McCulloch, thank god, is back from vacation, but is feeling a little under the weather, so we'll be posting his usual guide to the Week in Comics! later tonight. In the meantime, here's a brief taste of what he's working on, a review of the new Cinema Purgatorio anthology, which provides an excellent excuse for Joe to explore the sweet world of his beloved Avatar Press.

A few weeks ago, the website disseminated the results of a 127-person sample size poll concerning payment for professional work in the comic book industry. Amid various comments concerning the undesirability of working for high-profile 'indie' publishers such as BOOM!, Zenescope and Bluewater/Storm Entertainment, there is a brief and telling mention of Avatar Press:


This is understandable. Established in the latter half of the 1990s, the age of the industry crash, as a veritable fallout shelter for sexually-driven 'bad girl' comics, Avatar quickly seized on the possibility of recruiting name writers tested in mainstream genre comics and allowing them leeway to publish aggressive and extreme content. Today, they are known mainly for one of those projects: the comprehensively violent pseudo-zombie series Crossed, a going concern since 2008 and still trademark & copyright Mr. Garth Ennis, whose name you will also be seeing on the Preacher television show soon enough. This, more than anything, has cemented Avatar's identity as "a downmarket gorehound press" per Tim last week, though the same publisher is also behind the industry news/gossip site Bleeding Cool, and maintains a side-specialty in sexy girl comics via an imprint, Boundless.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews & Profiles.
I haven't listened to this yet, but was excited to wake up this morning and discover that my favorite (non-TCJ-affiliated) comics podcast, Rina Ayuyang and Thien Pham's Comix Claptrap, has returned after a two-year-long hiatus, and their first guest is Tim Hensley.

Guest host Sean Ford takes the reins at Inkstuds to interview Malachi Ward.

Japan Times profiles Rokudenashiko.

You’ve probably heard of Japanese artist known as Rokudenashiko (“good for nothing girl”), who was arrested in 2014 for sending the 3-D data of her genitals to patrons of her successful crowdfunding campaign to create a vagina-shaped kayak.

(According to Tokyo Reporter, Rokudenashiko has recently been fined 400,000 Yen for her crime.)

The Society of Illustrators has posted video of Ryan Sands talking to Rebecca Sugar:

—Reviews & Commentary. Ng Suat Tong isn't particularly fond of screenwriter/internet-punching-bag Max Landis's Superman: American Alien.

My first impression on reading Superman: American Alien was that it seemed like a decently written television series. The kind you might find on a small cable channel littered with demographically targeted YA themes about young powerful people grappling with their powers.

It's nice to see Ng writing again so much recently.

—News. Longtime Farm News cartoonist Rick Friday was fired from his position after he published a cartoon mildly criticizing Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, and John Deere.

After the cartoon was published last Friday, Mr. Friday said he was told in an email from an editor the next day that the cartoon would be his last for Farm News because a seed company had withdrawn its advertising in protest.

Mariko and Jillian Tamaki's This One Summer has been banned from a Minnesota public school district's library after a single parental complaint.

Henning School District has no policy addressing selection or reconsideration of library materials. The school district was contacted when we couldn’t find any policies online, the superintendent said that there is no policy but there is a procedure in place where a parent can complain to the principal and the principal will decide what to do. No consultation with the librarian is required. No consultation of professional reviews is required. The book doesn’t even need to be read in its entirety.

Finally, Oni Press has announced that they are starting a new imprint devoted to educational sex comics, starting with Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan's Oh Joy Sex Toy.

[EDITED TO ADD: This post was written on very little sleep this morning, and included a few errors—one typo and a mistaken description of Oni Press. Both have been corrected, but my apologies.]